Meet Three Female STEM Leaders Disrupting The Food & Beverage Industry
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three women STEM leaders pictured in collage portrait

The number of female executives in the food and beverage industry is shockingly low, especially when compared to other industries. Only 16 percent of executives in food and beverage manufacturing are female, as opposed to 21 percent across all industries.

SōRSE Technology–the leading cannabis and CBD emulsion supplier for CPGs and other food, beverage, and topical manufacturers–has bucked this unfortunate trend with a strong female leadership presence.

Three of these powerful and innovative female STEM leaders who are disrupting the food and beverage industry are:

Donna Wamsley, pictured bottom, Director of Research and Analytics and expert flavorist. Ever wonder who designs food and drink flavors to hit those taste cells in just the right way? None other than one of only a few hundred flavorists in the world. Donna brings over 12 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. She can discuss what it’s like being one of the world’s few hundred flavorists, the qualities she looks for when analyzing ingredients, and 2020’s most popular flavor trends.

Michelle Sundquist, pictured right, Director of Innovation Product Design. At SōRSE, Michelle uses cutting-edge ingredient emulsification to develop products never thought possible. With over 20 years of expertise in the psychology behind food and beverage marketing, Michelle can give an in-depth look at launching high-quality foods and beverages, along with the techniques that bars, restaurants, and stores can use to make their drinks stand out in a crowded market.

Maribeth O’Connor, pictured left, VP of Medical Application, Business and Product Development. Maribeth brings over 30 years of experience to SōRSE and has experience working in business development and marketing for the University of Washington School of Medicine. She has also worked as a federal healthcare lobbyist for Group Health Cooperative. Maribeth is currently working in partnership with Pascal Biosciences and UW Sports Medicine in conducting research studies to validate proven cannabinoid therapies in cancer and osteoarthritis. She is also pursuing other research opportunities around the globe.

Donna, Michelle, and Maribeth are three of the amazing and hardworking women in their industry. They draw on their unique skillsets and experience from their colleagues at SōRSE and are breaking new ground in a nascent industry. They have, and continue to, contribute immensely to making the cannabis and CBD industry the success story that it is today and in the future. Finally, they are an inspiration to the women that will continue to populate the executive ranks.

NASA Perseverance Rover Records First-Ever Sound of Wind on Mars
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The NASA Rover rests on the brown sands of Mars

By Natalie Colarossi

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which successfully landed on Mars on February 18, has obtained the first ever audio recording of wind on the red planet.

In a video shared by CBS news on Friday, NASA engineer Elizabeth Duffy describes the recording as “awesome,” and said the new audio will allow scientists to discover a “whole complete story of Mars.”

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Hearing the wind is just so awesome. When you think about it, we are hearing something that is so far away on another planet, and now we know what that wind actually sounds like,” Duffy told CBS News.

“It’s going to be able to tell us a whole complete story of Mars, which is what we’re after.”

Along with 25 onboard cameras, the rover also carries two microphones. Though one failed to work during the rover’s descent, the other captured the sounds of wind blowing past, as well as the noise of the spacecraft itself, CBS reported.

The audio tape was first released on February 22, and marks the first time noise has ever been recorded on another planet. NASA released two separate clips of the same recording, one that filters out the noise of Perseverance and one that includes it.

“I think of the microphones on the rover as adding another sense for us,” Duffy told CBS. “It just is going to give us this whole picture of what it’s like to be on Mars.”

Mission team members have said that they hope to hear many more sounds from Mars, including storms, falling rocks and the sound of the rover’s wheels as it moves across the planet’s surface.

“Imagine yourself sitting on the surface of Mars and listening to the surroundings,” Dave Gruel, lead engineer for the rover’s camera and microphone subsystem, said during a February 22 news briefing. “It’s cool. Really neat. Overwhelming, if you will.”

In addition to audio, the rover has captured some of the most stunning images of the planet to date.

Color photos have been captured using the rover’s Mastcam-Z camera system, which can zero in on the planet with extraordinary detail.

Images so far have shown the arid landscape of the rover’s landing site—the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater. Researchers believe this area was once home to a river delta billions of years ago, making it a promising spot to search for signs of ancient microbial life.

The agency says the rover’s cameras can zoom in, focus, and take 3D pictures and video at high speed, enabling the detailed examination of distant objects.

Read the full article at Newsweek.

Finding Yourself and Your Community when You Are Black in STEM
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A Black scientist wearing a lab coat closeup

Antonio T. Baines knows what it’s like to feel alone in the lab. He lived it while getting his doctorate. “I was in this Ph.D. pharmacology/toxicology graduate program, and there was nobody who looked like me when I first got there,” he says.

At the time, Baines, who is African American, was studying at the University of Arizona. He entered his graduate program with a friend, who was also Black. “She was in the master’s program,” Baines says, “but we were the only two.”

Now, as an associate professor and a cancer researcher in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at North Carolina Central University, he is working to change such situations. He mentors, he teaches, and he is a spokesperson and advocate for the next generation of students of color coming into the sciences.

“I think representation is so important—you need to see folks who look like you, no matter who you are, and others need to see that, too” Baines says. “If you don’t ever see it, then, is it possible?”

This discussion is part of a speaker series hosted by the Black Employee Network at Springer Nature, the publisher of Scientific American. The series aims to highlight Black contributions to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) a history that has not been widely recognized. It will cover career paths, role models and mentorship, and diversity in STEM.

Read the original article at Scientific American.
California Tech Hub Bitwise Industries Raises $50 Million In Quest To Diversify The Workforce
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professional shot of Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr standing side by side smiling

When Jake Soberal founded tech hub Bitwise Industries alongside Irma Olguin Jr. in 2013, the “volume of injustice” for impoverished communities of systemic poverty rang at a medium decibel. Since then, the noise has noticeably increased.

“Trump gets elected, and now the volume is quite high. Then there’s a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, and now the volume is deafeningly loud,” Soberal, 35, says. “There is no waiting [for our company]. Going slow is not an option. This is work that desperately needs to be scaled.”

Image: Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. were frustrated by the limited career prospects in their hometown, and wanted to find a solution. Photo Courtesy of Bitwise Industries

Bitwise Industries, which trains tech workers in marginalized communities, develops software and invests in tech-friendly real estate, announced today that it has secured $50 million in Series B funding from Kapor Capital, JPMorgan, Motley Fool Ventures and ProMedica. To date, Bitwise has raised $100 million at a valuation Forbes estimates at roughly $200 million.

A third-generation Mexican American and the first in her family to go to college, Olguin told Forbes in June that she’d been working to make coding instruction available to disadvantaged members of her local community when she met fellow Fresno, California, native and intellectual property lawyer Soberal. They teamed up to find a “fundamentally different way to rebuild American cities.”

In 2013, the pair established Geekwise Academy, the coding and tech skills boot camp arm of Bitwise. The downtown Fresno institution offers classes in website building and programming languages like HTML and JavaScript to people of all ages. In California alone, Bitwise has trained roughly 5,000 people, with more than 80% of them finding gainful technical employment.

Olguin and Soberal later launched Shift3 Technologies—a software development division that builds apps and custom programs for small and medium-sized businesses—to boost the hiring pipeline for Geekwise alumni.

Bitwise’s third business-line is investing in commercial real estate. In California, the cofounders have developed and leased 450,000 square feet of previously blighted, long-forgotten buildings, transforming them into coworking spaces, restaurants, theaters and other desirable commercial real estate.

With a 2020 revenue that Forbes estimates at $40 million, the company has expanded its three-pronged model from Fresno to Bakersfield, Merced and Oakland. With the new funding, Olguin and Soberal hope to move into markets outside California, starting with Toledo, Ohio.

“For the first time we can start thinking about what an equitable recovery looks like,” says Olguin, 40. “What does it actually mean to rebuild an American city coming out of the pandemic, and coming out of this age of justice? Bitwise can deliver to the world and to the cities a diverse and inclusive technology workforce, where those high-wage, high-skilled jobs now are creating and endeavoring to bolster that local economy.”

Read the complete article at Forbes.

13 Practical Ways To Help Employees Adapt To New Technology
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collage Forbes Human Resources Council

Tech continues to play a larger and larger role in businesses and industries of all stripes. As companies bring on more and newer technology to help improve productivity, employees who were initially trained on older systems or who are new to a higher-tech workplace may struggle to keep up or even resist using the new tech at all.

Giving your team the support they need to learn and leverage new tech is a win-win situation for everyone. Below, 13 members of Forbes Human Resources Council share tips for effectively introducing new tech tools to your team members.

Take a multi-pronged approach.

Implement a range of training systems, from written instruction to live video training, to accommodate different work styles and preferences. It’s important that executives lead by example by using the technology themselves and reminding employees of support and resources available on a regular basis. – Neha Mirchandani, BrightPlan

2. Create a sandbox for employees.

The one important strategy in any major wave of change is the willingness to create a sandbox for the employees. For any new tech—or non-tech—strategy to succeed, an appetite for and acceptance of failures and mistakes are required. People learn when they know their mistakes won’t cost them their jobs. They are more open to bigger challenges if there is an allowance for a learning curve. – Ruchi Kulhari, NIIT-Technologies

3. Implement annual skills evaluation.

Annual skills evaluation programs are a great way to keep employees engaged and motivated. Digital transformation requires core competencies for virtually any job to evolve. By evaluating skill levels and skill gaps, your organization can easily identify ways to ensure employees are keeping up with the competition. Employers must constantly update employee skills to match the pace of innovation. – Sameer Penakalapati, CEIPAL Corp.

Read the full article at  Forbes.

Kenyan Woman’s Startup Recycles Plastic Waste into Bricks That Are 5x Stronger Than Concrete
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black female engineer holding a brick recycled from plastic

An absolutely brilliant young woman in Kenya has started a company manufacturing bricks from plastic waste.

Nzambi Matee says she was “tired of being on the sidelines” while civil servants struggled against plastic waste in the capital city of Nairobi, so the materials engineer created a product that is 5 to 7 times stronger than concrete.

Founder of Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials, Matee also designed the machines that manufacture the bricks in her factory.

Getting dumps of plastic low and high-density polyethylene and polypropylene from local packaging plants for free, Gjenge Makers produces a variety of different paving stones after the plastic polymer is heated and mixed with sand.

“There is waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” Matee told Reuters.

The result is a line of versatile building materials pressed via hydraulic machine into different thicknesses, that sell in a variety of colors that cost an average of $7.70 per square meter.

Read the original article at Good News Network.

Why Representation Is So Important In The STEM Industry
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Black girl in the science engineering class

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry as a whole has a lot of work to do when it comes to adding diversity to its field.

As a Black female meteorologist, I didn’t see myself growing up. Often times, that led to doubt and frustration. But little did I know it was also becoming part of my purpose — giving little girls who look like me an opportunity to see themselves.

The lack of diversity doesn’t only exist in the meteorology field. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry as a whole has a lot of work to do when it comes to adding diversity to its field.

According to an analysis by Undark, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black students in a STEM field peaked in the early 2000s and has been falling ever since.

Abi Olukeye is the founder and CEO of Smart Girls HQ, an organization helping to bridge the gender and resource gap for girls in STEM.

It was support at home,” Olukeye said. “They also felt that their teachers or parents were not supportive of their choice in a STEM career much more than the other students did.”

Olukeye said exposure is key to encouraging more girls into STEM.

According to a recent study conducted by The Girl Scouts, 48% of African-American girls are more likely to know someone in a STEM career compared to 61% of Caucasian girls.

Only 18% of African-American girls have one or both parents in a STEM career compared to 29% of Caucasian girls.

“I think, honestly, it’s exposure as early as possible,” Olukeye said. “But it’s also the intentional safe space to experiment.”

As a mother of two daughters, she pushes her girls to experiment.

It’s not uncommon for me to walk into my freezer, open my freezer and to see a baggy of lotion that’s been frozen because they want to see what happens when you freeze lotion,” Olukeye said.

Read the original article at WCNC.

NASA Pays Tribute to Fallen Heroes with Day of Remembrance
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memorial stone for NASA Fallen Heroes

NASA will honor members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, including the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, during the agency’s annual Day of Remembrance Thursday, Jan. 28. This year’s NASA Day of Remembrance also marks 35 years since the Challenger tragedy.

“NASA has a unique culture that is fueled by possibility, set on a path to the next giant leap for humanity, and guided by its history,” said NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The lessons of our past are the enduring legacy of the brave women and men who did not put limits on what could

(Image Credit – NASA/Bill Ingalls)

be achieved, and we all recognize the honor of being counted among them as part of the NASA family.”

Jurczyk will lead an observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, which will begin with a traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by observances for the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia crews.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event will be limited to invited guests and closed to media.

Various NASA centers also will hold observances on the Day of Remembrance. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance will be limited at these events, and CDC-recommended health and safety protocols – including physical distancing and face coverings – will be followed.

Kennedy Space Center, Florida
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, in partnership with The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, will host a Day of Remembrance ceremony at the Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy’s Visitor Complex with limited in-person invited guests. The ceremony will feature remarks by Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana, as well as retired space shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach, and Astronauts Memorial Foundation President and CEO Thad Altman. The ceremony will livestream at 11 a.m. EST on Kennedy’s Facebook account.

Johnson Space Center, Houston
NASA’s Johnson Space Center will hold a commemoration at the Astronaut Memorial Grove with limited in-person invited guests. The ceremony will feature remarks by Johnson Center Director Mark Geyer, as well as Cheryl McNair, widow of Challenger astronaut Ronald McNair, NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, and former Johnson Center Director George Abbey.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will observe Day of Remembrance with a prerecorded observance featuring remarks from Marshall Center Director Jody Singer, NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore, and a moment of silence. The event will appear on Marshall’s YouTube channel and will be shared on the center’s social media account.

Glenn Research Center, Cleveland
NASA’s Glenn Research center will observe Day of Remembrance with a virtual observance for Glenn staff only.

Video and still images of various agency observances will be available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/mediaresources

The agency also is paying tribute to its fallen astronauts with special online content at:

https://www.nasa.gov/dor

Images and multimedia from this year’s events will be added following the events.

Read the original article at NASA.

Why Big Data Is Failing Women In STEM And How To Fix It
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Black woman leaning against the wall working on the computer wearing black

Big Data dominates our economy. Yet, we don’t have consistent, standardized and real-time data on the jobs driving that 21stcentury-Big Data economy: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Walmart can tell you how many of anything are in a given store or warehouse at any moment. Apps track your heartrate and your phone tracks your location at any moment. C-suite executives monitor everything in their organizations daily. In the labyrinth of sources, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data seems to be the most detailed, but it’s relative; it’s not even clear exactly which jobs they include.

“Where data comes in is to put greater pressure on educational institutions and on employers to monitor what they’re doing and be held accountable if they lose women, if they keep losing women, or keep not getting women in the first place,” Ariane Hegewisch, Ph.D., Program Director Employment & Earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, told me. She added that it’s important to see the racial data as well, because, “it does impact women of different racial and ethnic backgrounds very differently.”

The devil’s in the definitions: “There is no standard definition of a STEM occupation.”

A big part of the problem is defining these jobs. The BLS lists all occupations and you need to mine their breakdown to find what you want. The BLS defines STEM jobs as: “Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations include computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, and life and physical science occupations, as well as managerial and postsecondary teaching occupations related to these functional areas and sales occupations requiring scientific or technical knowledge at the postsecondary level.”

Read the original article at Forbes.

20 worthwhile conferences for women in tech
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women in tech graphics

Diversity is a hot topic in the tech industry — and because it’s discussed frequently, it might be easy to feel like things have already changed. But according to a recent Women in Technology report from IDC, only 42% of women feel their employer offered equal pay, compared to 75% of men who feel the same.

Additionally, 56% of women feel that women are underrepresented in STEM fields in their organization compared to 26% of men. Women also feel that their workplace is more geared towards men (45%), that there is a lack of support for women in STEM (33%) and

                                                                                                                 (Image Credit – CIO)

that taking time off for family will impact their career opportunities (35%).

Whether you already have a strong network of women colleagues in your industry or if you’re looking to expand your community, there are a number of conferences designed for women in STEM fields. And most of these aren’t just for women — they’re open to allies and anyone who supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Here are 20 tech conferences that aim to connect women and other underrepresented groups in technology to build a more diverse community in the tech industry.

Black Women Tech Talk

The Black Women Tech Talk conference is dedicated to founders and offers “self-enriching sessions, networking and one-of-a-kind experiences.” The three-day event includes keynote speakers, sessions on how to practice self-care as a founder, how to balance your personal life and career, and other workshops specific to being a female founder. The retreat also includes less traditional sessions and perks such as free hair and makeup appointments, group yoga sessions, and other networking and social events that give attendees a chance to mingle.

Global Women in Tech Awards

The Women in IT Awards & Summit is a one-day event covering topics such as blockchain, AI and machine learning — there is also an awards gala at the end of the conference. Award categories include CIO of the Year; Advocate of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year; Future CIO of the Year; Business Role Model of the Year; CTO of the Year; Rising Star; and Diversity Initiative of the Year. The NYC and Silicon Valley conferences were held virtually in 2020 — dates and location for 2021 haven’t been announced yet.

Grace Hopper Celebration

The Grace Hopper Celebration was co-founded by Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney in 1994 and is now the world’s “largest gathering of women technologists,” according to the event website. The conference is named after Admirable Grace Murray Hopper, who is considered the one of the first computer programmers — her work is directly responsible for the development of COBOL.

Read the original article and learn more about tech conferences for women at CIO.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Commercial UAV Expo Americas, Las Vegas
    September 7, 2021 - September 9, 2021
  2. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
  3. AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference, International Lidar Mapping Forum, and SPAR 3D Expo & Conference
    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. Commercial UAV Expo Americas, Las Vegas
    September 7, 2021 - September 9, 2021
  2. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
  3. AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference, International Lidar Mapping Forum, and SPAR 3D Expo & Conference
    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022