Friday, September 28, 2012

Swift's Veterinary Scopes

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Just like with standard human laboratory medicine, veterinary microscopes are used for diagnostic methods that benefit our furry and feathered friends. Sine patients can't communicate, diagnosis and treatment becomes increasingly more difficult and complicated. With a Swift veterinary microscope, veterinarians can examine skin samples, hair samples, bodily fluids and much more from their patients. Using a high power biological veterinary microscope, indications of parasitic infections neoplastic disease, microbial infections and much more can be seen and treated. More detailed and extensive lab work is usually required for things like pathology, microbiology and immunology-based tests. Swift's stereo veterinary microscopes can be used for basic quick viewing of samples at lower magnifications and simple dissection work enabling veterinarians to utilize common microscopy techniques like brightfield, darkfield, and phase contrast.

Pictured is the Swift Digital M10LB-MP, a binocular microscope with LED. This is just one of Swift's veterinary microscopes!

Girl Power!: Women Leaders in STEM

STEM is a buzz word that has quickly made itself a household term over the past decade. Along with the education and workforce issues associated with STEM fields, comes the overwhelming concern that girls and women are shying away from STEM careers.  For whatever reason, the percentage of girls and women interested in STEM education and careers has continued to decrease since 2000.  While the statistics may point to this, the overwhelming success stories of women that are involved in STEM careers are rarely publicized.

So, without further ado, I bring you "100 Women Leaders in STEM!" In the words of Susan O'Day, "we need to be more aggressive in showing young girls and young women role models and highlighting stories of successful leaders." And that's exactly what this overview does. It's shocking that women in STEM are less than 25 percent of new jobs.  Even more shocking, women are only 3 percent of corporate CEOs, just 17 percent of board positions and make up a mere17 percent of Congress.  Considering women are 51 percent of the U.S. population, these stats are staggeringly low.  The good news is this can be changed! To read the complete report by STEM connector and to learn about the 178 (and growing) girl's and women's STEM organizations reviewed by the site, click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

STEM Career Spotlight: Forensic Athropologist

Forensic anthropology combines the science of physical anthropology (human evolutionary biology, physical variation, and classification) and osteology (study of the human skeleton) and applies the science in a legal setting. Daily activities may involve identification of deceased individuals where the remains are burned, mutilated, or in advances stages of decomposition. Forensic anthropologists often work with forensic pathologists and homicide investigators to identify evidence of trauma or calculate how long a person has been deceased.

Students pursuing a career as a forensic anthropologist will need a bachelor’s degree in anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology or anthropology as well as a graduate degree in human biology or anthropology. Most forensic anthropologists have a Ph.D. degree. Obtaining the highest level of academic achievement is important as this is not a high demand occupation and there are relatively few positions available. The most common initial career path is as a professor at a major college or university.

The popularity of crime solving television shows has created an interest in careers in this field. Depending on education level, experience and area of focus, salaries for Forensic Anthropologists can range from $35,000 to $100,000 and higher annually. For more information, click here.

Forensic anthropologist examining a human skull found in a mass grave in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2005.
Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Swift's Commitment to STEM

With more attention to STEM education than ever before, Swift understands that the classroom environment is changing. They also understand that teachers need more than products, they need resources and solutions.

Let Swift help you discover how Swift microscopes and digital products may be used in your 21st century STEM classroom.

"Smart Teachers Expect More and the get it with Swift!" Visit Swift's website to check out a few of the resources they've developed that offer teachers the STEM support they need.

Meet the Remote-Controlled Cockroach

What if someone told you that one day, a remote-controlled cockroach could save your life? I know what you're thinking: gross, right? Once you get past the idea and the picture below, you'll find that science has done it again! A group of researchers from North Carolina State University have developed method to steer and remotely control cockroaches via an electronic interface. Finally, the age-old pests may become useful.

Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NC State and co-author of the project's paper, recently presented the group's findings at the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in San Diego, CA. 

Since cockroaches can survive nearly anything, Bozkurt and his colleagues have decided to celebrate their resilience and small size. As he told Discovery News, "Ultimately, we think this will allow us to create a mobile web of smart sensors that uses cockroaches to collect and transmit information, such as finding survivors in a building that's been destroyed by an earthquake."

To learn more about the cheap, lightweight computer chip equipped with a wireless receiver used to transmit signals to the roaches, check out Nic Halverson's analysis on Discovery News.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What is STEM?

Here are answers to some questions commonly asked about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education.

There is a lot of talk and buzz around the term STEM.  but, what exactly is it?

There are many definitions of the term S.T.E.M.   Simply stated, STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where academic concepts are paired with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between lessons learned in school to work and community applications.  It is takes learning to the next level, in which students do not simply learn concepts but demonstrate and apply theory to application.  (Tsupros, 2009).  S.T.E. M.  programs turn a typical classroom into one that is dynamic and driven by problem-solving, discovery and investigative learning.

Why is STEM so important to today’s science educator and science classroom?

Since the publication of   Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Future (National Academies Press, 2005), the need and demand for jobs that require specific S.T.E. M. skills has increased exponentially. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics project job growth of 22% in S.T.E.M related occupations in the next ten years.  S.T.E.M. education provides the foundation for today's students to become the workforce of tomorrow. 

Where do I find S.T.E.M.  Related Funding Sources? 
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Extensive information on all aspects of the Recovery Act that pertain to education
  • Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged: Title I provides financial assistance to LEAs and schools with high numbers or high percentages of disadvantaged children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
  • Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT): Title IID provides funding specifically for technology so that students become technologically literate and teachers learn how to integrate technology into curriculum.
  • The Foundation Center: Directory of private philanthropic and grant making foundations
  • Grant Wrangler: A free grant and award listing service for K-12 teachers, schools and students.
How Can I Learn More About STEM Education? Check out the organizations below to learn even more about STEM education!

  • American Chemical Society
  • Education Development Center
  • Hands On Science Partnership
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • NSTA
  • The Science Olympiad

Robots, Mars and Science!

Who says science isn't cool? Armed with scientific knowledge, NASA made history early in August when they successfully landed a catlike rover on the surface of Mars.  The rover's journey to Mars lasted over eight months! Now, as it rolls over the surface of the Red Planet looking for signs that it once hosted life - even it only hosted mere one-celled microbes - America scores big in a critical science era.  Appropriately enough, NASA named the robotic cruiser Curiosity. The all-terrain vehicle has six wheels, weighs nearly one ton and is basically a science lab. How cool is that? With so many cool things happening because of science, who wouldn't want to learn more? To read more about Curiosity's journey on Mars and for much more science news, visit Science News for Kids' website.