SMART Fellowships

Posted on October 31, 2006  Comments (0)

The Science, Mathematics, And Research for Transformation Defense Scholarship for Service Program (SMART) is administrated by ASEE. As I have stated before – while I work for ASEE this blog is my own and is not associated with ASEE.

Program highlights include:

  • Starting salary/stipend ranging from $22,500 for undergraduates to $38,000 for doctoral students
  • Full tuition and related education fees and a book allowance of $1,000
  • Paid summer internships
  • Career opportunities after graduation

Read more about the program and apply online – the deadline is 5 February 2007. Article on the SMART program from ASEE’s magazine: PRISM.

The deadline from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is as early as tomorrow for some applications and as late as November 13th for others.

Related: How to Win a Graduate FellowshipSMART Fellowships/Scholarships 2005

Bacteria in Food Increasingly Dangerous

Posted on October 31, 2006  Comments (0)

Food-borne bacteria evolving, becoming more dangerous by Elizabeth Weise:

The evolution of ultra-dangerous versions of common food pathogens with which humans have coexisted for millennia. E. coli lives in the guts of most mammals. Almost all forms are harmless; some are actually necessary for health. It wasn’t until the 1970s that a deadly version — O157:H7 — emerged that causes kidney damage and death.

Two forms of the salmonella bacteria,Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella newport, have evolved to resist most of the antibiotics that doctors are comfortable giving to children, says Patricia Griffin, who studies food-borne and diarrheal illnesses at the CDC.

Both are most common in cattle and other farm animals but are also turning up in fresh produce.

Related: Drug Resistant Bacteria More CommonScience Fair Project on Bacterial Growth on Packaged SaladsHow do antibiotics kill bacteria?health care related blog posts

MRSA Vaccine Shows Promise

Posted on October 31, 2006  Comments (3)

Superbug vaccine ‘shows promise’

A vaccine to guard against hospital superbug MRSA is a step closer, according to scientists. US researchers have developed a vaccine that protected mice from four potentially deadly strains of MRSA.

The team looked for a vaccine using a technique called “reverse vaccinology”, which builds on recent genetics advances.

It involved sifting through the genome of Staphylococcus aureus to hunt for proteins on the microbe that might spark the body’s immune system into action, producing protection against the bacteria.

The team identified four proteins that prompted a strong immune response, making them good targets for vaccines.

Related: CDC Urges Increased Effort to Reduce Drug-Resistant InfectionsEntirely New Antibiotic DevelopedDrug Resistant Bacteria More Common

More information on MRSA is available from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Satellite Tracker from NASA

Posted on October 30, 2006  Comments (2)

Cool satelite tracker from NASA that uses Java (if you don’t have Java you can see some other links they provide but they really are not that great). You can use your mouse to spin the globe around and see satellites. You can also select specific satellites and see their orbits. A nice fun quick visit.

Related: Voyager 1: Now 100 Times Further Away than the SunNASA Robotics AcademySaturday Morning Science from NASASolar Storms

Diversity In Engineering – Canada

Posted on October 30, 2006  Comments (0)

Via Celebrating Engineering in the Globe and Mail – the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers: What can diversity bring to engineering (pdf format):

Strategies to encourage more women to take up engineering are being adapted to reach out to other under-represented groups. Making engineering more inviting to a diverse pool of future practitioners holds tremendous promise for a profession dedicated to the public interest.

There is no doubt a renewed emphasis on diversity reflects–some would suggest belatedly–the changing demographic of engineering in Canada, and especially Ontario. While female engineers still represent only about 10 per cent of membership in most Canadian jurisdictions, there has been significant growth in membership from international engineering graduates, particularly in larger urban centres. In some ways, this indicates how the evolving demographic of engineering practitioners is coming to reflect the changing Canadian population.

Educating Scientists and Engineers

Posted on October 29, 2006  Comments (0)

Business Week has an articles discussing what business would like to see from graduates, Biotech’s Beef:

The problem is a disconnect between what universities are teaching and what biotech wants. “The focus of academia is getting basic and theoretical knowledge in place,”

There are several weaknesses. First, recent grads lack the technical knowledge to carry out applied research in areas that straddle engineering, math, and computers. Second, job candidates have little awareness of what the Food & Drug Administration is looking for when it considers whether or not to approve a drug. Recent grads simply aren’t familiar with issues such as quality control and regulatory affairs.

This general idea is not new. But, as always (and probably more so if the nature of what is needed is changing faster today than in the past) the changing environment does require universities (and students, at least those that want to work in industry) to adapt.

But with H-1B quotas filling up earlier every year, Invitrogen has chosen to do more drug development in Japan, China, and India. It may also open facilities in Korea and Singapore, says Rodney Moses, Invitrogen’s vice-president of talent acquisition. Compensation in China and India is lower than in the U.S., but that’s not what motivates the move offshore, says Moses. “If the talent is located in Singapore, it’s just easier for us to go there.”

U.S. colleges take the problem seriously. State university systems in California, Wisconsin, and elsewhere are adding more industry-oriented classes.

Related: Engineering the Future EconomyDiplomacy and Science ResearchEngineers in the WorkplacePhony Science Gap?Economic Benefits and Science Higher EducationThe Economic Benefits of Math

60 Acre (24 hectare) Spider Web

Posted on October 28, 2006  Comments (2)

Two interesting articles Millions of Tiny Spiders Spin Mystery in a British Columbia Clover Field, and Spiders weave huge natural wonder in B.C. cover a story from 2002:

A biology professor in northern British Columbia has spotted a clover field crawling with spiders.

Brian Thair of the College of New Caledonia in Prince George said he saw a silky, white web stretching 60 acres across a field.

Related: Another remarkable natural event, giant wasp nest. Also see a post on spider thread.

Residence Halls for Engineering Students

Posted on October 27, 2006  Comments (1)

Three residence halls allocated just for engineering students at Southern Illinois University by Alexis Boudreau

The National Science Foundation in September granted SIUC $1.2 million to help fund the endeavor. Chrisman said more than half of the grant would go toward funding the peer mentors’ salaries.

Nicklow said there would be approximately five students per mentor, and the mentor would attend at least one class per week with the students, along with providing tutoring and guidance.

“The whole purpose is for them to interact with one another,” Lorentz said. “They will be able to live, learn and study together. It will enhance the student experience.”

The new program will also involve faculty mentors, free tutoring available in the halls four or five nights a week and 36 practicing engineers who will periodically speak to students.

Some of the ideas sound good. I am skeptical of the advantage for completely separate dorms, but I believe in experiments so I like the idea of trying this. It will be interesting to see the results of this effort.

High Pay for Engineering Graduates

Posted on October 27, 2006  Comments (0)

Undergraduate engineering degrees top the list of best paid: Most lucrative degrees for college grads. This article offers a slight update to Lucrative college degree post from July.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

Posted on October 26, 2006  Comments (2)

School of Education creates $20 million loan-forgiveness program to encourage students to become teachers

This program from Standford is one of the many good ideas being applied currently. Alone it really is a pretty small step but as one small step of many it is a good one.

$10 million gift matched by Stanford will create a $20 million loan-forgiveness program at the university’s School of Education to encourage students to become K-12 teachers.

Under the program, half of a STEP student’s loan will be “forgiven”-effectively cancelled-when the graduate has taught for two years. After four years, the loan balance will be forgiven. Research has shown that a teacher who pursues teaching for three years or more is likely to stay in the field.

Related: Teach for Americaprimary education related posts

Sick spinach: Meet the killer E coli

Posted on October 26, 2006  Comments (1)

Sick spinach: Meet the killer E coli:

O157 is unusually infectious, adds B. Brett Finlay, professor of microbiology at the University of British Columbia, who has studied the devious bug’s genetics and tactics. “Ten organisms can make you sick, while salmonella takes 10 million. And E. coli O157:H7 is resistant to acid in the stomach that normally kills most things.”

Read more in this detailed articles from the why files.