Cmd-It Announces 2019 Richard A. Tapia Award Winner Cristina Villalobos

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Cristina Villalobos, Tapia award winner, poses in a gray blazer and red blouse

CMD-IT recently announced the recipient of The Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing is Cristina Villalobos, the Myles and Sylvia Aaronson Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education.

The Richard A. Tapia Award is given annually to an individual who is a distinguished computational or computer scientist or computer engineer and who is making significant contributions to civic areas such as teaching, mentoring, advising, and building and serving communities. The individual is also one who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in increasing the participation of groups who are underrepresented in the sciences.

“Cristina Villalobos is a leading mathematician in the fields of optimization, optimal control and modelling,” said Valerie Taylor, CMD-IT CEO and President.  “Throughout her career she has significantly impacted different applications areas through her research in optimization; impacting areas such as the treatment of eye disease and the design of antennas.  In addition, Cristina has focused on strengthening STEM academic programs, providing resources for the academic and professional development of students and faculty, and increasing the number of underrepresented students attaining STEM degrees.  She has been a leader in student mentoring, increasing the number of Hispanic students pursuing PhD’s in mathematics.”

The Richard A. Tapia award will be presented at the 2019 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. Themed “Diversity: Building a Stronger Future,” the Tapia Conference will be held September 18-21, in San Diego, California.  The Tapia Conference is the premier venue to bring together students, faculty, researchers and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing to promote and celebrate diversity in computing. The Tapia Conference is sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).

The Tapia conference sponsors include Diamond Sponsor Qualcomm, Platinum Sponsors Caltech, Cornell Computing and Information Science, Georgia Tech, JP Morgan Chase & Co, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Rice University, Stanford University Computer Science, STARS Computing Corps, Two Sigma, University of California Berkeley, University of California San Diego Science and Engineering Department, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and University of Michigan. Gold Sponsors include Atlassian, Blendoor, Capital One, Cisco, CRA, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Google, Harvey Mudd College, Kennesaw State University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of North Carolina Charlotte and Virginia Tech. Gold Government Supporters include Argonne National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.

The early bird pricing for the Tapia Conference ends July 8th. For more information and to register for the Tapia Conference, visit tapiaconference.org.

About CMD-IT

The vision of CMD-IT is to contribute to the national need for an effective workforce in computing and IT through inclusive programs and initiatives focused on minorities and people with disabilities. CMD-IT’s vision is accomplished through its mission to ensure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT, and to promote innovation that enriches, enhances and enables underrepresented communities. For more information, please visit cmd-it.org.

Lannan Foundation Creates $3 Million Endowment for Native American Scholarships with the American Indian College Fund

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College students pictured walking to classes outside a University campus

Only 14% of American Indian and Alaska Native students have a college degree, less than half the rate of other groups—and one barrier to getting a higher education is often cost.

Lannan Foundation of Santa Fe, New Mexico is helping to make it easier for Native students to get a college degree, thanks to a $3 million endowment it created with the American Indian College Fund. The endowment will provide Native American students with scholarships to attend tribal colleges and universities.

The College Fund supports 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) through capital and programmatic support and scholarships. These remarkable institutions are located on or near Indian reservations, serving people who live in remote, rural communities. TCUs are affordable, accredited higher education institutions and offer culturally based curriculum in a supportive environment, with 74% of TCU graduates going on to work in careers that serve their communities, according to the results of the Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities survey by the College Fund and Gallup.

Patrick Lannan, President, said, “Tribal colleges and universities, in many respects, are the center of hope for Indian country and Indian people in the United States. The American Indian College Fund makes a good future for tribal college students much more viable.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “It has been my personal pleasure to know Patrick Lannan and Lannan Foundation for many years, witnessing their path as an organization committed to social justice and the voices of disenfranchised people. This gift to our students’ successful college experiences through a scholarship endowment is but another example of that commitment. We thank them for their vision and their generosity.”

About Lannan Foundation—Lannan Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects that support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities. The foundation recognizes the profound and often unquantifiable value of the creative process and is willing to take risks and make substantial investments in ambitious and experimental thinking. Understanding that globalization threatens all cultures and ecosystems, the foundation is particularly interested in projects that encourage freedom of inquiry, imagination, and expression. The foundation supports this mission by making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of contemporary visual artliteratureindigenous communities, and cultural freedom. For more information visit lannan.org.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org.

In Helping His Dad With Diabetes, Young Mexican Chemist Pioneers Healthy—and Cheap—Sugar Substitute

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Javier Larragoiti and team working in the Xilinat lab

When 18-year old Javier Larragoiti was told his father had been diagnosed with diabetes, the young man, who had just started studying chemical engineering at college in Mexico City, decided to dedicate his studies to finding a safe, sugar-alternative for his father.

“My dad tried to use stevia and sucralose, just hated the taste, and kept cheating on his diet,” Larragoiti told The Guardian. Stevia and sucralose are both popular sugar alternatives, and many reduced-sugar products available today contain one or the other.

With stevia and sucralose out of the picture, the young chemist needed to keep searching. He started dabbling with xylitol, a sweet-tasting alcohol found in birch wood but also in many fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is used in sugar-free products such as chewing gum and also in children’s medicine, but is toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

“It has so many good properties for human health, and the same flavor as sugar, but the problem was that producing it was so expensive,” said Larragoiti. “So I decided to start working on a cheaper process to make it accessible to everyone.”

Xylitol Made Cheaper

Corn is Mexico’s largest agricultural crop, and Javier has now patented a method of extracting xylitol from discarded corn cobs. Best of all, with 28 million metric tons of corn cobs generated every year in Mexico as waste, there’s no shortage of xylitol-generating fuel.

Simultaneously, Larragoiti hit on the idea of how to make xylitol less expensive, while inventing a way to reuse the 28 million tons of corn cobs, substantially upgrading the traditional means of disposal: burning them.

Especially in a pollution-heavy country like Mexico, reducing the amount of corn waste burned, would eliminate a portion of the carbon emissions.

His business, Xilinat, buys waste from 13 local farmers, producing 1 ton of the product each year. His invention was awarded a prestigious $310,000 Chivas Venture prize award, which will enable him to industrialize his operation and scale up production 10-fold, diverting another 10 tons of corn cob from the furnace.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

2019 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Convention

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SHPE Logo

Join the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) for their 2019 National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona from October 30 – November 3. Attend the largest gathering of Hispanics in STEM!

This annual event brings together the largest number of Hispanic STEM professionals in the U.S. The theme for this year’s convention is “The Power of Transformation,” celebrating the evolution of SHPE, the empowerment of its members, and the elevation of Hispanics in STEM.

Enjoy a career fair with 275+ top companies & graduate schools, professional networking opportunities, educational sessions with leading experts and world class speakers from Fortune 500 companies.

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.

There are multiple conferences available from which to choose, so pick the sessions that are right for you! Pre-College, Academic, Professionals, SHPEtinas, Technology & Innovation.

Curious to see more about what goes on at the largest gathering of Hispanics in STEM? Check out the highlight reel from our 2018 convention in Cleveland, OH.

A special thank you to Visionary Sponsor – Honeywell!

For more information please visit SHPE2019.ORG and be sure to follow the hashtag #SHPE2019 on social media for the latest convention news!

MBA Salaries in the U.S. Highest on Record

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Hispanic woman college graduate in graduation cap pops open a bottle of sparkling cider

Recent graduates with an advanced business degree, particularly in the United States, are procuring substantial starting salaries. The median annual base starting salary U.S. employers plan to offer new MBA hires is $115,000—more than double the median for new bachelor’s degree hires ($55,000) and the highest ever recorded in the United States.

By industry among U.S. employers, median MBA starting salaries are highest in the consulting ($135,000) and finance/accounting ($125,000) industries.

“Employers clearly place a high value on acquiring MBA and business master’s graduates,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. “We are seeing a highly active candidate marketplace in terms of geographical shifts in study destinations, but the value that both employers and graduates see in an advanced business degree is a constant.”

Overall, most employers have increased MBA starting salaries (56 percent), including 63 percent of Asia-Pacific employers, 56 percent of U.S. employers, and 49 percent of European employers. Median annual base starting salaries vary considerably by world region. European companies plan to offer new MBA hires $95,000, and the median for Asia-Pacific companies is $45,000.

Source: globenewswire.com

Selena Gomez Surprises Students at Her Texas Middle School: ‘Know That Anything’s Possible

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Selena Gomez hugs a surprised in classroomstudent at her old middle school

Selena Gomez went back to her roots and surprised students at her old middle school in Texas.

On Monday, the award-winning artist went back to where it all began at Danny Jones Middle School in Mansfield, Texas, stopping by her old stomping grounds to encourage current students and reconnect with some of her past teachers.

“Hello, students at Danny Jones Middle School. This is Selena Gomez talking to you,” the 27-year-old said over the intercom, in a video shared by the school on the Mansfield Independent School District’s website.

According to the school, Gomez had returned to her hometown to film for a new documentary about her childhood.

“This trip, I wanted to take my best friend Courtney, and also some of my people from my label, just to show them where I grew up and how proud I am of where I’m from,” Gomez explained. “Some of my teachers I got to see again, and they were part of my life for so long.”

While the former Disney Channel star greeted students in a montage of videos — taking selfies and granting hugs —  her seventh-grade basketball coach recalled the type of student the singer was when she walked the halls.

“As a student, Selena was so humble and she was very kind,” Gray said. “She had a really kind, soft spirit. Hard, hard worker. Real humble. Just a real neat kid.”

Gray also described the day Gomez told her she was withdrawing from school to move to Florida and pursue her acting career. “I remember the day that she was leaving Jones,” Gray recalled. “She said ‘Oh I’m just going to Florida.’”

“And I said ‘How come?’ She said, ‘Oh I’m just going to be in a little Disney film.’” Gray added. “I said, ‘Oh. OK.’ Because sometimes middle school kids kind of exaggerate.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Eva Longoria Honored With Beacon Award At 13th Annual ADCOLOR Awards Ceremony In Los Angeles

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Eva Longoria accepts Beacon Award onstage

Each year, the ADCOLOR Awards ceremony recognizes individuals making strides in the fields of marketing, advertising, public relations, media and entertainment, in diversity and inclusion.

For its 13th annual celebration—hosted by New York Times best-selling author Luvvie Ajayi and presented by Facebook, Google, YouTube, Microsoft and Omnicom Group—honored philanthropist, actress, producer and director of UnbeliEVAble Entertainment (and Haute Living cover star), Eva Longoria, among others.

Each of the nominees and honorees are carefully and thoughtfully chosen from a large pool of change makers in each of their respective industries. The winner in each category is the one who represents ADCOLOR’s motto best, which is “Rise Up and Reach Back.” They are honored not just for the accomplishments in their own careers, but also how they are able to give back to their community. The organization’s goal is to “create a network of diverse professionals to encourage and celebrate one another.”

There is no better honoree to set the tone of Adweek’s inaugural Beacon Award than Eva Longoria,” said Lisa Granatstein, Editor, SVP, Programming, Adweek. “From her formidable seven-year-old Eva Longoria Foundation that empowers Latinas via STEM education and entrepreneurship to her leadership role calling for diversity in Hollywood, Eva’s remarkable accomplishments are both authentic and action-oriented.”

The inaugural Beacon Award honors talent who uses their celebrity as a catalyst to change the status quo in the quest for diversity and inclusion. In May, ADCOLOR and Adweek partnered on the first Champion awards and celebration recognizing the fearless leaders and rising stars in marketing and media who embody ADCOLOR’s call to “Rise Up. Reach Back.”

Continue on to Haute Living to read the complete article.

Mexican Scientist Creates Biodegradable Plastic Straw From Cactus

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Sandra Ortiz stands in kitchen behind table filled with vaiations of her new plastic

Researchers from the University of Valle de Atemajac in Zapopan, Mexico have created a biodegradable plastic from the juice of the prickly pear cactus.

The new material begins to break down after sitting in the soil for a month and when left in water, it breaks down in a matter of days. Plus, it doesn’t require crude oil like traditional plastics.

“There were some publications that spoke of different materials with which biodegradable plastics could be made, including some plants,” Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, the research professor who developed the material, told Forbes.

“In this case the nopal cactus has certain chemical characteristics with which I thought it could be feasible to obtain a polymer, that if it was combined with some other substances, all of them natural, a non-toxic biodegradable plastic would be obtained. The process is a mixture of compounds whose base is the nopal. It’s totally non-toxic, all the materials we use could be ingested both by animals or humans and they wouldn’t cause any harm.”

This means that even if any of this material made its way into the ocean, it will safely dissolve. It’s estimated that between 1.15 million to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers. Last month, divers found a plastic KFC bag from the 1970s during an ocean clean-up off the waters off Bulcock Beach in Queensland, Australia and earlier this year, during a dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench – the deepest point in the ocean – a plastic bag was found.

According to Ortiz, the project was born in a science Fair of the The nopal cactus sitting on table with blender in the backgroundDepartment of Exact Sciences and Engineering, in the chemistry class with industrial engineering students of the career. They began to make some attempts to obtain a plastic using cactus as raw material.

“From that I decided to start a research project in a formal way. Currently in the project collaborate researchers from the University of Guadalajara in conjunction with the University of Valle de Atemajac.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

40th College Television Awards Submission Period Begins Sept. 5

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College Television Awards logo

The Television Academy Foundation Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student-Produced Programs From Colleges Nationwide. The submission period for the Television Academy Foundation’s 40th College Television Awards is Sept. 5 through Oct. 3, 2019.

Each year hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students, representing colleges and universities nationwide, submit their media projects to television’s most prestigious student competition—the Television Academy Foundation’s College Television Awards.

The College Television Awards honors achievement in student-produced programs and will feature stars from today’s top television shows presenting awards to winners at the red-carpet awards ceremony.

Emulating the Emmy® Awards selection process, entries for the College Television Awards are judged by Television Academy members. Top honors and a $3,000 cash prize will be presented to winning teams in eight categories: drama, comedy, animation, nonfiction, promotional, news, sports and variety. The College Television Awards also includes two additional, donor-supported, categories: the Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award and the Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the nominees will take part in a three-day television summit hosted by the Television Academy Foundation. The summit, designed to enhance professional development, will feature panel discussions, studio tours and networking opportunities with industry executives and Academy members.

The College Television Awards often serves as an entry point for a career in television for nominees and winners. Past alumni have worked as editors, writers, producers and other positions on programs including Ray Donovan, The Handmaid’s Tale, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, CBS This Morning, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Grey’s Anatomy, 60 Minutes, Empire and many more.

For additional information, visit TelevisionAcademy.com/CTA.

To read the complete article continue on to The Patch.

Affordable, Culturally Relevant Tribally Chartered Institutions Help Native American Students Launch Careers

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American Indian College Fund

Education has been heralded as the “great equalizer,” but today only 14% of Native Americans in the United States ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher—less than half of that of other groups.

The key to eliminating this disparity may be tribal colleges and universities (TCUs)— affordable, accredited, culturally relevant higher education institutions chartered by tribes serving Native students on or near Indian reservations. American Indian college graduates who attended TCUs enjoy significant benefits over college students attending other academic institutions, according to a new American Indian College Fund and Gallup survey report titled Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities.

The report shows TCU graduates are creating a unique and community-focused life after graduation, outpacing the efforts of graduates from mainstream academic institutions, as well as possible reasons for that, in the following ways:

TCU graduates are giving back to their communities. Seventy-four percent of TCU graduates surveyed say they have forged careers serving their communities and societies. More than half report a deep interest in the work they do in careers that serve their communities such as education, healthcare, social services, and more. Perhaps because of the ability to do work that they find meaningful, more than half of TCU graduates report they are deeply interested in the work they do (53%) and half (50%) say they have the opportunity to do work that interests them, compared to 38% and 37% of college graduates nationally.

TCU graduates received greater support in college. TCU graduates (43%) are more than twice as likely as American Indian/Alaska Native graduates of non-TCUs (21%) and college graduates nationally (18%) to recall experiencing three critical support measures in college: having a professor who cared about them as a person, having a professor who made them excited about learning, and having a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams. TCU graduates outpace non-TCU American Indian/Alaska Native graduates in all three measures, with the gap between TCU and non-TCU graduates the widest for having professors who cared about them as people (59% vs. 33%, respectively).

TCU graduates are more likely to be debt-free. TCU graduates are more likely to state their education was worth the cost—67% as opposed to 39% of college graduates nationally. Only 3% of TCU graduates took student loans as compared to 19% of students nationally, leaving them debt free as they pursue their preferred careers after graduation. Lack of debt also has a positive impact on college graduates’ financial well-being and that of their families.

TCU graduates are thriving in all aspects of well-being. TCU graduates report nearly twice as much as graduates nationwide that they are thriving financially, socially, and in their communities and careers.

Tribal colleges and universities are geographically and culturally diverse but share common goals such as integrating cultural values and connection to land into curriculum and pedagogy while emphasizing community outreach and education that is rooted in tribal identity and practice. In 2017, over 11% of American Indian students studying at a U.S. two-or four-year public or private not-for-profit postsecondary institution attended one of the 35 accredited TCUs.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “All of us who have worked with tribal colleges and universities since their founding in 1968 recognized that these place-based, culturally-rooted institutions transformed lives and communities. Through the support of Strada Education Network and a partnership with Gallup, we are able to provide the data to back this up. Our graduates tell the story of our success as tribal institutions. More support for tribal colleges and universities would expand this transformative experience to more Native and rural citizens.”

The Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities survey report is the result of a survey of 5,000 American Indian College Fund scholars to gather information about the value of an education rooted in Native American values. The survey was funded by a grant to the American Indian College Fund by the Strada Education Network.

To download a copy of the report, please visit https://collegefund.org/inside-the-college-fund/gallup-american-indian-college-fund-survey-report-tcu-alumni-outperform-other-college-graduates-affordable-culturally-relevant-tribally-chartered-institutions-help-students-launch-community-caree.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org.

Not Only Does This New Clothing Charge Your Phone, It Can Protect You From Viruses and Bacteria

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man wearing a suit being splashed with water

A new addition to your wardrobe may soon help you turn on the lights and music—all while also keeping you dry, clean, and safe from the latest virus that’s going around.

That’s because Purdue University researchers have developed a new fabric innovation that allows wearers to control electronic devices through their clothing.

Purdue University researchers have developed a new fabric innovation that allows wearers to control electronic devices through clothing.

“It is the first time there is a technique capable to transform any existing cloth item or textile into a self-powered e-textile containing sensors, music players or simple illumination displays using simple embroidery without the need for expensive fabrication processes requiring complex steps or expensive equipment,” said Ramses Martinez, an assistant professor in the School of Industrial Engineering and in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering.

The technology is featured in the July 25 edition of Advanced Functional Materials.

“For the first time, it is possible to fabricate textiles that can protect you from rain, stains, and bacteria while they harvest the energy of the user to power textile-based electronics,” Martinez said. “These self-powered e-textiles also constitute an important advancement in the development of wearable machine-human interfaces, which now can be washed many times in a conventional washing machine without apparent degradation.”

Martinez said the Purdue waterproof, breathable and antibacterial self-powered clothing is based on omniphobic triboelectric nanogenerators (RF-TENGs) – which use simple embroidery and fluorinated molecules to embed small electronic components and turn a piece of clothing into a mechanism for powering devices. The Purdue team says the RF-TENG technology is like having a wearable remote control that also keeps odors, rain, stains and bacteria away from the user.

“While fashion has evolved significantly during the last centuries and has easily adopted recently developed high-performance materials, there are very few examples of clothes on the market that interact with the user,” Martinez said. “Having an interface with a machine that we are constantly wearing sounds like the most convenient approach for a seamless communication with machines and the Internet of Things.”

The technology is being patented through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The researchers are looking for partners to test and commercialize their technology.

Continue on to Purdue University to read the complete article.