CollegeCPR coaches girls about STEM careers at Tech Savvy event

March 18, 2017

CollegeCPR spent the day at University at Buffalo for Tech Savvy, speaking with girls (Grade 6-12) and parents about STEM careers and college preparation activities.

What did we enjoy most?  Our conversations with students and parents about career exploration, college preparation and ways to overcome the common challenges faced by today’s college student.  We discussed job opportunities in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Math, Engineering) and what activities are needed to best position students for college and career success.

What is Tech Savvy?

Promoting Science and Technology Careers for Girls

Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.

Tech Savvy was founded in 2006 by the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch, under the leadership of then-branch president and Praxair employee Tamara Brown (ME Chemical Engineering, 2003). With the support of Praxair and community groups, this annual event has become a huge success, serving upwards of 700 girls and 200 parents each spring at the University at Buffalo.

This year we will focus on the college application process, the importance of service, and getting into college. Hence, students will have an AAUW University college application. The student brought this applications and we asked questions about their strength’s, favorite subjects, career interests, and plan to achieve career goals.

About AAUW

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

Our society tells girls and women that they don’t belong in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. As early as first grade, children have already developed a sense of gender identity, and most have developed unconscious bias associating boys with math. Toys still reinforce rigid, highly gendered stereotypes that encourage only boys to build or engineer. And even kids’ clothing still proclaims that girls are bad at math.

At almost every step of the STEM education ladder, we see girls walk away. By seventh grade, many girls are ambivalent about these fields, and by the end of high school, fewer girls than boys plan to pursue STEM in college. Especially in engineering, physics, and computing, female college students are likely to be outnumbered by men in their programs. With some important exceptions, schools dedicate few resources to recruiting and retaining students in fields that are non-traditional for their gender. Women who do graduate with a STEM degree enter a workforce that is historically unfriendly to them. And once they get there, stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of academic departments and workplaces continue to block women’s participation and progress.

But the low number of women and girls pursuing STEM fields is not a status quo we can live with. It has significant implications for women’s financial security, economic growth, and global innovation.

AAUW is committed to encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM, and we have a multipronged approach to make it happen.

About CollegeCPR

CollegeCPR is a social impact company committed to college, career and life success. We work with parents and students to accelerate success, by guiding learners through occupational exploration, soft-skill development, and career coaching. We work with institutions to create a campus-wide culture of coaching through high impact training and print/digital content.

On a personal level, we appreciate the support of parents, students and educators and programs like Tech Savvy. We sincerely want to hear the challenges and share in your successes!

Employee engagement initiatives and professional coaching has shown to boost goal attainment and increase productivity. We offer corporate workshops, coaching, and College/Career planning web-based courses.

Follow CollegeCPR on Facebook

Or email us at mspence@collegeCPR.com

AAEU, STEM, Michael Spence, CollegeCPR

4 Reasons to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE ON LINKEDIN AND YOU SHOULD OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE

  • “Linked In is not a platform to forget about it. Microsoft purchased for 26 billion dollars so they won’t let it slide away”
  • “It’s the go-to platform for professionals, particularly in B2B space.”
  • “Pay attention to your personal brand on social networks. Current or future customers might checking you out on LinkedIn and probably all networks.”
  • “It’s a great way for you to create personal leverage for yourself from a professional standpoint.”

In January 2017, LinkedIn the platform for professionals just had its biggest desktop makeover. The new design now features seven core areas, home, which is your feed, messaging, jobs, notifications, me, my network and search. Below is the new page layout.

It’s important that you leverage the content “above the fold.” The most valuable real estate on your page is your headline and opening summary statement.

EXERCISES TO HELP YOU CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND:

  • Get your Elevator Pitch – what makes you interesting and different (iTunes has a new show called Return of the Apps where it’s like Shark Tank but for Apps – they call it an Escalator Pitch).
  • Elaborate in detail – Who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and what they’re going to get out of it. But keep it to 3-7 sentences.
  • Brainstorm on key words for yourself – what search terms would people use trying to find you (i.e. names, skills, products, services, or even industry jargon)?

TIPS FOR LINKEDIN PROFILE SECTIONS:

  • NAME: Use your real name, save the cool trendy fun for other platforms
  • URL: Reserve your vanity URL on LinkedIn – should be same as your real, full name if possible
  • PHOTO: Ditch the photo from college and get a professional headshot
  • HEADER IMAGE – Use an image that illustrates what you do, with something that pulls through your brand or illustrates your skills

HEADLINE:

  • Your professional headline is the line that comes up next to your name when someone searches so you can go deeper than just your job title.
  • Try to incorporate the keywords you came up with in the earlier brainstorming – take advantage of your space.
  • This is where you have to stand out with a condensed version of your elevator pitch

SUMMARY:

  • This is the place where you can take a deeper dive into who you are, what you do and who you help.
  • Start with the paragraph you created earlier in the exercises – incorporate your key words here
  • Speak to who you’re trying to connect with
  • Be sure to break this up! No one wants to read multiple long paragraphs. Use bullet points and white space so they can easily pull out the key takeaways.

EXPERIENCE:

  • Elaborate on your experience
  • Put former employers
  • Highlight achievement
  • List services
  • Personal differentiators
  • Add media like presentations or created content – visuals are great for social media (you can also put under your summary section)
  • The media can be documents, presentations, videos, photos – be sure to use pdfs rather than Word documents
  • Schooling – go deeper here into achievements, awards, etc.
  • Even if you got a degree into what you do today, that’s okay because that is part of your story and it can also be a connecting point into who you are

FEATURED SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • This is your opportunity to show your credibility and thought leadership in your space
  • You get 50 skills – use this wisely – you want to be relevant skills to what you do
  • Don’t just write “Microsoft Word” as a top skill since that won’t separate you from others
  • This is like SEO for your personal brand
  • Pay attention to the Top 10

ADDITIONAL ITEMS:

  • This area is more for freelance and contract work
  • List your publications, i.e. guest blogging gigs, or featured articles, but you don’t need to feature every single post), especially if they have gone viral or are more evergreen and relevant
  • List and Organizations & Volunteer work –

Suggestions To Make Your Profile Better:

LinkedIn isn’t forgetting its core service with its new update. The site will now offer suggestions to make your profile stand out based on what recruiters are searching for. LinkedIn will suggest what skills you should add, as well a summary created by LinkedIn based on your experience.

Contact Mike Spence for help optimizing your LinkedIn page, crafting a brand story, and growing your business using social media:

The College Disconnect – Are students unemployable?

For years parents have come to me with the same concern. Their children are struggling to find direction after graduating from college. The kids don’t know what to do, and their parents don’t know how to help. And they’re not alone.

Consider these statistics cited in a recent Forbes article.

  • A national Pew survey says 57% of prospective college students believe college is no longer worth the tuition it charges.
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents believe a college degree is unaffordable.
  • An Inside Higher Ed survey of chief academic officers revealed that 96% believed their universities “were doing a good job.”
  • In sharp contrast a Gallup survey showed 14% of the American public, and only 11% of business leaders, strongly agreed that graduates have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace.

The subject shifted to challenges the parents face communicating with their children about life plans. Over and over again I see good intentions of parents, students and teachers, but the delivery is missing the mark.

why is college so hard

 

Here is an example: 22 year old female, graduated high school with 104 average. She is in her last semester of her BA at a State University with a 4.0 GPA. Sounds good right?  But in a few weeks she could face the real world and have to take her resume to the market. She has no job experience. No certification or professional license. No clear career path. No job leads. And no plan other than more school…her major of choice, communications. So for 3 months, before school bails her out of the real world for two more years, she will work as a server to pay for beer.  Maybe grad school on the same campus will get her there…what do you think?

I’ve seen this too many times for it to be an exception, it is more like the majority. At the least, we are facing a recurring a problem.

I don’t want to point at the education system and say you suck. But…
keep-calm-and-admit-what-you-suck-at.you suck - fix that

I mean I was a teacher, a coach, and a professor. I helped K-12 and University students everyday for years. It’s meaningful work, I’m not knocking the teachers. Education is by no means an utter failure.  But the higher education system is failing many people.

The burden of misguided college isn’t just wasted time, it’s a financial burden for most.

But it’s missed opportunity for all!

While the K-12 stakeholders are preoccupied struggling to establish standardized testing. Our youth need testing that complements the curriculum and facilitates academic success, independent thinking, and creative problem solving. Not testing that drives the curriculum teaching to a test and not the student.

Higher education and academia can be split. Professors who tend to focus on theory, history, research, and publications. College administrators and program managers care about keeping their budget. Education is bureaucratic, change is resisted and slow.

For 6 years I’ve worked in corporate America everyday, working with Fortune 100 executives and private business owners. They are looking for lean, not unproductive. Efficient, not incompetent. Proactive, not reactive. Experts, not rookies.

Since 2002 the entrepreneur in me has been asking questions.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What are your struggles?
  • What did you do to make it easier?
  • How can I help more people be successful?

Bringing it all together

There is good news, this is not about blame or pointing a finger at the system.

YOU CAN MAKE COLLEGE WORK FOR YOU!

College is not on autopilot, there is no guarantee.

Take control.  Decide how you want to spend your time.

Be responsible. Learn to dictate life and be decisive.

Think about quality of life and your financial needs.

Explore career options and gain field experience.

Take advantage of campus resources

 

Grab the wheel, hit the gas, and start driving your life forward. Where do you want to be? How will you get there? What resources are available? Who will hold you accountable?

What do students need to transition into professionals? 

Take the next step: Watch a 3 minute video introduction

 

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Michael Spence has teaching experience, parental instincts and a passion for helping others. Michael shares his knowledge and experiences to help students and parents receive all the benefits a college experience can provide.

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