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

AAEU, STEM, Michael Spence, CollegeCPR

Schoold is the “fastest growing app in higher education!”

Schoold is the “fastest growing app in higher education!”

CollegeCPR recommends Schoold as the preferred College Search App.

Discover new schools, get advice, and apply for scholarships.

Education app, SchoolD, college search

This app can turn months of college research into a 20 minute search.

Even better is that they help you find available scholarships. Tuition hikes and changes in financial aid make it harder to find funding. Parents and students are looking for creative and alternative ways to fund college. SchoolD helps connect students with scholarships and make informed college choices.

Here is an alarming stat.

  • In America the average ratio of school counselors to students is 1:472.
  • 73% of schools lack a dedicated college counselor.

At CollegeCPR, we help guide parents and students through occupational exploration and career coaching.  We educate and encourage ongoing dialogue between students, their parents and student support services. We partner with education organizations and institutions with complementary services that improve student success.

We bridge the gap between H.S. graduation, college success and job attainment. Through guided activities and one-on-one video coaching we personalize the outcomes for each students goal. Leveraging distance learning technology and tools to provide global reach with a personal touch!

We would love to help you.


Find out why @HuffPo says Schoold is the “fastest growing app in higher education!!”

Paying for college can be hard, finding a scholarship shouldn’t be! @schooldapp will help:

Parents, LISTEN UP

I’ve had 200+ conversations this week with parents and their college freshman and sophomore’s.

To many of your children are unsure of their future.

When their goals are unclear, they cannot execute.

At CollegeCPR we leverage distance learning technology to guide learners through self-evaluation (skill/interests), occupational exploration, college mapping ,and career coaching activities that prepare you for professional success.


The College Disconnect – Are students unemployable?

National News: For-profit college chain ITT Tech ceases all student enrollment 

NEXT: Watch the Explainer Video

Can you relate?   Do you know someone who can?

CollegeCPR wants to help you

But, only 100 students per month get access

Set your children up for success

Ask How:

National News: For-profit college chain ITT Tech ceases all student enrollment


The government is locking down wasteful use and abuse of student loan spending. Price gouging is rampant. Student loan debt is atrocious. The federal government wrote too many checks that they cannot cash in on.

Loan interest is only cash flow positive when…graduates have jobs and can pay back loans.  I know many adults in their 40’s who still need forbearance and deferments on loan payments.

College expenses are increasing at 300% of inflation rates in the US.

“The market for students that enroll without Title IV is essentially non-existent,”

“The expense of processing applications only to have them cancel once they learn (they are) Title IV ineligible is not worthwhile.”

“ITT’s future has been in question since the Education Department announced its sanctions amid an Obama administration crackdown on for-profit colleges. The SEC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and more than a dozen states are investigating ITT over its financial performance, marketing, recruiting and job placement numbers.”

For-profit colleges face increased scrutiny

For-profit college chain ITT Tech ceases all student enrollment

CollegeCPR set out to solve the common problem of graduates with high loans, and not enough experience or skills to obtain work in their field.

Students who complete CollegeCPR graduate with less debt, and have the skills & experience to be positioned for success in a competitive job market.

If you are a student, or parent concerned with your child’s professional success, CollegeCPR is a must consider program for all students ages 17-21.

Over the next 6 months, Coaching Performance Results (CPR) will introduce professional development and technical career training’s to develop the soft & hard skills in highest demand.

Watch this 3 minute intro video from our Founder, Michael Spence

Subscribe to Join Us and Transform Your Life

10 Things That Require Zero Talent

Don’t get bitter, get better!

Throughout my career, hundreds of colleagues, friends and/or students come to me for advice.  Most often in a time of need. Often dealing with rising stress and frustration in their life. Seeking ways to improve their situation, their well being and their performance.

My answer is consistent, I always start by suggesting that you focus on the factors that you can control. Learn to control your role in any relationship. Control your thoughts, self-talk, and your reactions to emotional triggers.

If you are anything like me, a lack of control creates feelings of helplessness and unrest.

Focus on things you can control, and put your worries at rest.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Eric Thomas, a top motivational speaker, a.k.a. “the hip-hop preacher” shares his thoughts in the video below.

Many people are looking for a quick fix. Or using factors outside their control as self limiting beliefs and excuses. Too many people have made the mistake believing a college degree will make you a professional.

There are more worthless and unused college degrees than people actually using them as intended.  I’m not anti-college, I am pro education. But lack of work experience and occupational exploration is compounding the student debt problem and the inefficiency of a college education.

I am no different. I have two degrees that I don’t use today. But the skills and knowledge I gained is transferable. Each degree lead to a job in the field, because I applied myself to gain more experience than my colleagues. Within 3 years in each position, I moved on to find positions better suited for the entrepreneur in me.

What is different is my preparation, effort, attitude, work ethic. My ability to look outside the box for roles that fit my talents more than my degree differentiated me. I took on jobs that challenged me to grow. With time I found opportunities that compensate me better and provide more professional gratification.

10 Things you have complete control of and can improve immediately:

  1. Being On Time (Punctual)
  2. Work Ethic (Routines, follow-through, feedback)
  3. Effort (how hard you work)
  4. Body Language (non verbal communication accounts for @80% of a message)
  5. Energy
  6. Attitude (optimistic, problem solver, compliant)
  7. Passion
  8. Being Coachable (willingness to learn)
  9. Doing Extra (extra responsibility)
  10. Preparation

**SUCCESS HACK: Learn to leverage your fears to push you forward, instead of holding you back.

Whether you are a student, parent, employee, boss or leader, transferable skills are practical, and applicable in everyday life.  These skills are common among the healthier, happier, and more successful members of our communities.

CollegeCPR can help you boost your college success, sharpen your skills, or increase your career trajectory!

Can I Ask You A Question?

If the answer is YES, we have broken the ice and I have your attention.

This is a crucial moment, now you/I have one person, willing to give us one minute to hear us out.

What can you say in the first minute to get them to give you one more minute?


Good conversations are guided with a series of strategic and sequential questions. It’s good to get a series of small agreements (Yes’s) while finding out more of what the person needs.

Are you interested in learning how to ask better questions to get a YES?

                                                             “3 questions to why.”

Simple, sample questions

If a prospect told you what they want, where they struggle, and how you can help them.

How can you not help them?

Asking good questions creates a bigger opportunity to learn and connect with someone.  Questions generate conversation. Conversations builds rapport. Rapport leads to clear understanding and mutual respect. People buy from, hire, and promote people they like. Most often people who understand them and/or their business, and people they can talk to.

It all starts and ends with a question.

Do you think there is value in questioning?


If you like’d this post, we have some cool stuff coming up. We’d love to share it with you.  

Please opt-in and follow us on social media to help us reach more people. 

Inspiration: After finishing up a discovery appointment with the CFO of a mid market client, my engineer and I were debriefing when he said

“Mike, you ask better discovery questions than anyone I ever worked with!

I asked him to elaborate. He said something like, “You stay on task, keep the conversation flowing, and uncover the real challenges that the business faces.” Reflecting on the compliment I decided to write this post to help you.

I hope you use this to ask an extra question today and hopefully find you get a better answer.

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… 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.


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



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.





What can a diverse team do for your business?

With good leadership, diverse teams set the stage for unforeseen growth and profitability.

I internalized a deep appreciation for diversity when I got involved with the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) at Buffalo State College during grad school. NCBI is rooted in an understanding of individual, community, and systemic change. NCBI leaders work with public and private organizations to further:

  • Cultural competence
  • Collaboration and partnerships
  • Effective relationships within and across group identities

Diversity appreciation helped me build bridges to learn from and connect with people in every aspect of my life.

Before having this appreciation, I was just like you. I heard dozens of brilliant people say “hire the brightest people to fill skill and knowledge gaps in your organization”.

Yet, everyone looked and acted the looked the same. Over the years I rarely saw this diverse team.  More often I find layered management with bureaucracy and biased hiring practices. ‘Good ol boy’ networks and offices run like frat houses. Head count metrics trumping the best hiring decisions. And worst of all, narcissistic managers who are threatened and insecure by others performance.

diversity - mind blown video

Click to view Mind Blowing diversity video

What can a diverse team do for your business?

Imagine this: It’s 8 am Monday morning. Several small teams are in virtual break out rooms collaborating and trouble shooting progress from the past week. At 9 am all global team members are online for a quick kick off . Cross functional leadership drives challenging questions, propose action items and refocus’ the groups attention on desired outcomes. Delegation of tasks seem effortless as people volunteer and offer suggestions. Engaged employees drive project execution throughout the day. User feedback is analyzed weekly to make informed improvements. Team members high five, showing customers appreciation and being proud of “kick ass” work! The office often caters lunch on Fridays to recognize goal achievement.

*When you get employee buy-in, you can quickly establish a routine and a culture that boosts team productivity exponentially.

I didn’t take full ownership until I experienced the benefits of a diverse team first hand. A diverse team of hard working, cross functional professionals can knock down walls, open doors, and help every member of their tribe grow with a multiplier effect.

Challenge to Consider: Group Think takes effect almost immediately in group settings. Group Think occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.

Solution: Collect feedback and coach team members during 1 on 1’s. Share agenda before group meetings. Set clear expectations for each persons contribution. Frame and reinforce clear outcomes.

In my humble opinion, I owe much of my success to the diverse group of friends and colleagues that have helped me stretch my mind and my heart to appreciate people and spot opportunity with no boundaries.

How to start building a diverse team:

  • Get outside your comfort zone. Explore new cultures, markets, and skills. Stretch your mind and seek new adventures
  • Commit to lifelong learning. Learn from everyone, be curious, open minded and genuine
  • Be helpful and likable, and you will soon be a connector with a large network
  • Seek out experts, mentors, and advisers that you respect
  • Seek out meaningful experience that let people see your work

Leave your comment below: What is your experience with diverse teams?

I love my readers to share and engage in the conversation. Others connect with your comments. Share one of your lessons — good, bad, ugly, or an a-ha moment.


Michael Spence has been a student of self-help and professional development since first reading “The One Minute Manager,” back in 1995.” Serving as a father, teacher, professor, coach, sales leader, and entrepreneur, Michael shares his knowledge and experiences to help others succeed and collaborate with like minded people.

Career Development and Planning Magazine – July 2015

Career Development and Planning Magazine

View my Flipboard Magazine.

lifelong learner