Newton was Well Represented at the 10th Mass. STEM Summit

Newton was well represented at last week’s Massachusetts STEM Summit in Worcester. Michelle Mischke (NSHS parent and MassBioEd‘s Director of Biotechnology Education Programs) facilitated a roundtable discussion in a seminar about challenges and strategies of engaging students through authentic research.  Newton North’s Greengineering team (pictured: Samantha Marcus, Samantha Barbero, Alison Forman-Katz, Dean Lee, Nick Montes-Souza), led by Steve Chinosi, exhibited its work in solution-centered learning.  Amy Winston (head of Newton North’s Dept. of Science and Technology/Engineering) talked about her strategies and success in integrating engineering into NNHS’s science courses.  Others attending the summit included Diana Robbins (NPS head of K-12 Career & Technical Education), Gerry Gagnon (Newton South Science Dept. Head), Newton South teachers Divya Shannon, Jessica Silverman, Suzy Drurey, Amy Richard, and Megan Leary-Crist, and the founder and CEO of the DIGITS project, Joyce Plotkin.

Full House at the First of Mayor’s STEM Nights

MayorsSTEMNightLast week, Representative Joseph Kennedy III, Mayor Setti Warren, Superintendent David Fleishman, and representatives from PTC’s Engineers of the Future program spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of students and parents at the first of a series of Mayor’s STEM Nights.  Designed to inspire young students to explore STEM studies and careers, the evening focused on interactive, hands-on presentations using PTC’s design software.  PTC provided plenty of computers for the crowd to use in the demonstrations.

Newton Library Seeks Adult Volunteer Instructor for ‘Girls Who Code’

As announced last week, the Newton Free Library will offer the Girls Who Code after-school program, 4-6PM on Fridays this year, November through May, to girls in Grades 6-12.  The Library seeks a volunteer instructor to commit 8 hours per month during this time to offer girls access to computer science education using the Girls Who Code curriculum.  The ideal volunteer will be proficient in programming languages, have intermediate knowledge of data structures and algorithms, and might be a current or former software developer or a current undergraduate or graduate student with major or minor in computer science.  The most successful volunteer instructors have had some type of experience teaching or working with youth — as teaching assistants, camp counselors, or tutors — although this is not required.  Find more info in this flyer (PDF).  If interested, contact Liz at or 617-796-1380.

Ligerbots Open Meeting for Interested Parents, Potential Mentors, and New Students, Oct. 29

Newton’s all-city high-school FIRST Robotics Team, the Ligerbots, will hold a meeting on Wednesday, October 29, 7-9PM in the Newton North HS Lecture Hall (to the left of the main lobby on Tiger Drive).  Ligerbots team members and coaches will present what the team is, how it functions, and how the year will progress.  The meeting is open to parents of new and returning team members, as well as NNHS/NSHS students (and their parents) who may be interested in robotics, business, and design.  Potential team mentors are also welcome.

High-School Volunteers Sought for Scratch Programming Club for Grades 3-6

In November, the Newton Free Library will launch a monthly club for kids in Grades 3-6 to learn Scratch programming.   The Library seeks a few high-school student volunteers to help out.  They should know Scratch and be willing to commit an hour a month during the school year.   The meeting time is initially set for Thursdays, 6:30-7:30PM, but it may be adjusted to fit volunteers’ schedules.  No advance preparation is required, and a librarian will supervise.  If interested, contact Deena Zuckerman at

Workshop: Simulation and Modeling for Middle-School STEM Teachers, Nov. 10

MassCAN (the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network) is offering a free workshop for middle-school teachers on November 10, 8:30AM-2:30PM on Project GUTSGrowing Up Thinking Scientifically.  GUTS is a STEM program for middle-school students that is working with to deliver four instructional modules and professional development for the introduction of computer science concepts into middle-school science classrooms within the context of modeling and simulation.   This workshop will be held at the Education Development Center, 43 Foundry Ave. in Waltham.  It will be followed by an online MOOC running November-January.  Register online.  Bring a laptop.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided.  For more information, contact Kelly Powers at or 617-618-2818.

‘The STEM of Optics’ — Web Magazine by Mass. Regional STEM Networks

The Northeast and MetroWest Regional STEM Networks have created a web-based magazine — The STEM of Optics — with engaging resources for students, families, and teachers.

Professional Development STEM Workshops at WPI, Starting Oct. 29

The first in a series of STEM workshops for teachers will take place on Wednesday, October 29, 3:30-6:30PM at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Using NGSS standards and CC math concepts of scaling, participants will design a simple biomedical device to extract foreign objects from a child’s ear.  To register, see the website or email

Women in Tech: An Inspirational Story Slam, Oct. 27

Women in Tech: A Story Slam will be held on October 27, 7-9PM at the Microsoft NERD Center (1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge).  In this live story slam “shining the spotlight on positive role models,” several prominent women in STEM careers (engineers, product managers, researchers, investors, company leaders) will give 10-minute talks about the the people, places, and events that led them to a career in STEM.  Read a compelling account of its rehearsals at BetaBoston.  Students can attend free, and others are asked to make a donation of $10 or more to Science Club for Girls.  Register online.  Speakers include:

  • Mary Finlay, former CIO of Partners Healthcare and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Board Member of Mass TLC, and professor at Simmons School of Management
  • Jessica Iandiorio, VP of product marketing at Acquia, one of the fastest-growing software companies in the U.S.
  • Rudina Seseri, Partner at Fairhaven Capital
  • Laura Major, Analytics and Human Systems business area lead at Draper Laboratories
  • Jillian Kando, CTO of educational field trip company EdTrips and member of the 2014 TechStars Boston class
  • Donna Tremonte, co-chair of Harvard’s Women in Tech Group and developer at Harvard University

Erica Orthmann, the VP at LaunchPad who created this event, tells her story at WBUR’s Conoscenti.

Registration is Open for Boston College Splash — Grades 9-12, Nov. 16

Boston College will hold BC Splash on Sunday, November 16 from 9AM to 4PM.  Splash is a student-run program in which undergraduates and graduate students teach free mini-courses for high-school students.  Running in parallel is the Parent Program for parents to talk with financial advisors, admissions directors, and faculty.  Registration is required, is first-come/first-served, and is open until November 12.  STEM-oriented courses this year include:

  • Introduction to Programming with Pytho
  • Message from the TARDIS: The Science Behind Doctor Who
  • Star Stuff: How to Walk and Talk Like a True Astronomer
  • Introductory Neuroscience!
  • Space: Why it’s a lot cooler than you think
  • Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
  • Intro to Computer Science

For more information, email or call 617-291-7524.