Tag Archives: Lisa Chu

I Am A Scientist

Despite being home to two of the largest life science clusters in the world, California’s mathematics and sciences programs continue to lag behind other states, ranking 43rdin the category. As the life sciences continue to grow in California, the state will need more diverse and educated workers in order to fill high-paying jobs; STEM education will have to become stronger in order for these roles to be fulfilled.

In I Am A Scientist, Tom Torlakson (Superintendent of Public Instruction), the Department of Education, The California Endowment, California Biotechnology Foundation, and Lybba connect what a solid STEM education can do for expanding students’ future career paths. The film follows student from Promise Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles at a biohackathon, an event that enables students to work with biomedical lab equipment in a hands-on setting. “[At the biohackathon] I was inspired by [the students’] imagination and wonderment…these students are genuinely passionate about pursuing careers in science, medicine, research,” said Jesse Dylan, founder of Wondros and Lybba.
The film hopes to not only show the impact that STEM education has on future career paths, but also hopes to inspire students to consider the life science field as well. “We want to help students find their passion and to get a sense for what’s possible in the future,” said B. Kathlyn Mead, the EVP and COO of the California Endowment. Given STEM education’s track record, this seems likely. Marlena Jackson, founder of NexGeneGirls, an afterschool program that introduces girls to science and technology, has seen her students place themselves on track to becoming scientists, engineers, and lab technicians just after some exposure to science.
I Am A Scientist is now showing and is due to be screened at several high schools throughout the state in order to open students’ eyes about a possible career path in the sciences.

Here at Project Tomorrow our mission is to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century. Each year we hold our Leading the Way: Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science for local High School students in Orange County, CA. This free half-day event includes a student presentation of OC business trends, panel discussions from industry leaders and a diverse group of engineers, tabletop exhibits to introduce students to local STEM career opportunities and college programs, and breakout sessions led by business and education leaders throughout the region. Opportunities like these are just what students need to get exposure to these types of careers!

To learn more about how you, your company or students can get involved with next year’s 2014 Leading the Way Youth Leadership Summit please visit our website at: http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/youthLeadershipSummit.html

Click here to read the full article, “New Flim Inspites Youth to Find Passion in STEM Education and Discover Science-Based Career Opportunities”.

Also please be sure to contribute to the national dialog about science, technology & preparing students for the 21st century workforce through Speak Up! This year we are asking students, parents and community members to share the types of college and workplace skills that they think students should be learning in school to be successful in the future, what is needed to acquire those skills as well as student’s overall STEM career interest and how they would like to learn about future careers.

To participate in Speak Up go to www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013, surveys are available to students, educators, parents and community members.

Thanks for reading! And please be sure to tell us your thoughts on this interesting article below in our comment section!


Written by Lisa Chu, Project Tomorrow Fall Intern

School turns loss into a positive with added STEAM curriculum

After losing their school to an F5 tornado in April 2011, University Place Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, AL wanted to turn the misfortune of losing their school building into an advantage: instead of just switching to a new building, the faculty also wanted to switch to a new curriculum. They settled on STEAM, a curriculum based on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts. “Our students have great creativity. We saw the creativity of STEAM would add another facet,” Principal Deron Cameron said regarding his school’s decision.

University Place Elementary School is just one of several schools who have taken up the STEAM approach. Other schools have dubbed the curriculum as “STEM and Beyond,” noting that it gives them a chance to reach out to all students and not just the ones who solely excel in straight academics. At Taylor Elementary School in Virginia, students are able to learn about the plant lifecycle by creating songs to represent the stages of the plant lifecycle via GarageBand. 
STEAM enables students to easily understand a topic that may have been difficult to grasp by just reading a textbook. Of course, not all STEAM programs are alike: each school develops their own curriculum based on what their students need. For example, one school collaborated with the local community, enabling students to become city planners who created cities using cereal box buildings, which were then reviewed by the community’s actual city planner. Despite the variations in STEAM programs, those who use it all agree that STEAM stresses the need for try and fail, giving students a chance to open up to subjects that may have been difficult for them to understand beforehand.
To read the full article: “For These Schools, Adding Arts to STEM Boosts Curriculum” on T|H|E Journal, click here.
Want to learn more about your students’ interest in STEM? Participate in Speak Up! The Speak Up National Research Project give you the opportunity to contribute to the national dialog about science, technology & preparing students for the 21st century workforce! This year we are asking students, parents and community members to share the types of college and workplace skills that they think students should be learning in school to be sucessful in the future, what is needed to acuire those skills as well as student’s overall STEM career interest.

To participate in Speak Up go to www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013, surveys are available to students, educators, parents and community members.  To get your school, district or organization involved please contact Jenny Hostert at jhostert@tomorrow.org.

Thanks for reading!

-The Project Tomorrow Team

Written by Lisa Chu, Project Tomorrow Fall 2013 Intern

Social Media & College Admissions Another Worry for Students

As college acceptances become more competitive, it is no surprise that high school students are taking extra precautions in ensuring a spot at their desired schools. Besides dealing with academics, extracurricular activities, and community service hours, students are now worried about how they appear on the Internet.


At Bowdoin College, admissions officers turned down a student not just because of her grades, but also because of rude comments found on her Twitter account. “We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends their time on their mobile phone and makes such awful remarks,” Scott A. Meiklejohn, the school’s dean of admissions, stated. Most colleges don’t have formal policies regarding researching students online; out of almost four hundred college admission officers, thirty-one percent admitted they visited an applicant’s social media page to learn more about them. While this number may seem low, it is a five percent increase from last year.

Although most admissions officers prohibit the use of students’ personal websites during the admissions process, students should still be aware of what they post online. High school guidance counselors are now giving students lessons in cleaning up their digital identities; at Brookline High School, students are taught to delete alcohol-related posts and to create acceptable email addresses. Some students are already practicing what they learn from these lessons by untagging themselves in pictures and even by deleting their social media accounts all together. As admissions officers become more technology-savvy, students should be more careful about what they post online if they want to play it safe when it comes to college acceptances.


This year, our Speak Up Surveys will ask questions related to a student’s digital footprint. 

An example question is:

Which of these statements reflect your thoughts about digital footprints (information that is available online about you from what you and others have posted)? (Check all that apply)

Speak Up Surveys are free, and schools and districts can receive access to their school and/or district’s data in February 2014. Results regarding a student population’s digital footprint will also be apart of that data. Surveys are open to anyone interested in having a voice on critical education and technology trends.

Go to www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013 to take the survey today. Surveys open to students, parents, educators and community members!

Interested in participating in this year’s Speak Up surveys but want to learn more about it? Now’s your chance! Join Julie Evans CEO, Project Tomorrow for a 45 minute recorded webinar to learn about key Speak Up findings from last year – and how your school or district can participate in Speak Up this year.  View the recording via Blackboard Collaborate here: http://bit.ly/SUWebinarRecording.

Enjoy your day.

-The Project Tomorrow team

Written by: Lisa Chu UCI Fall Intern 2013

Estella’s Brilliant Bus Brings Technology to You!

Estella Pyfrom understands the importance of technology and its effect on learning. During her years as a guidance counselor, the CNN Heroes of 2013 nominee realized that few students had access to a computer after school. This lack of technology in students’ households was due to the economy: families prioritized their money and used it towards basic needs (i.e. food, rent) rather than towards technology. Because of this, Pyfrom feared these students would fall behind due to the large increase of technology in everyday use.
This concern is what launched Estella’s Brilliant Bus. In 2011 Pyfrom bought a bus and filled it with computers in order to provide technology to children. With her bus, she is hoping that less fortunate children are able to receive the same opportunities as other children. According to the Institute of the Study of Labor, “students who lack access to a home are less likely to graduate high school.” With Estella’s Brilliant Bus, Pyfrom and her volunteers target children ages three and up, providing classes and tutoring sessions on Internet basics, reading, math, and science classes. Older students are able to receive GED and college preparatory assistance, peer mediation classes, and even leadership training.
Through Estella’s Brilliant Bus, Pyfrom and her team have provided over 8,000 hours of computer education to at least 500 children a year. She has seen students benefit in both academics and life skills just by receiving one-on-one time with a computer. She hopes to not only see her services spread throughout the country, but also continue to help students keep up with technology’s rapidly growing presence in the world.
To read more about Estella’s Brilliant Bus, please check out the CNN article, ‘Brilliant Bus’ shrinking digital divide or visit the Estella’s Brilliant Bus website.
Are you part of a community group, non-profit, or association working with children, parents, educators or members of the community? Interested in their use of technology? Get involved with Speak Up! Schools and districts are not the only participants collecting data from this valuable survey, many organizations are using Speak Up data to help with their own planning. If you are interested in getting your organization involved, please contact Jenny Hostert on the Speak Up Team at jhostert@tomorrow.org
Speak Up is open to anyone interested in participating and sharing their thoughts on critical 21st century education and technology issues. Take the survey today at: www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013 and be sure to share with your network of friends and family! Every voice counts!
Thank you for reading and have a great day!
-Project Tomorrow Team
Written by: Lisa Chu UCI Fall Intern 2013