STEM Education has Lost a Gem: Dr. Gertrude Clarke

Dr.  Gertrude  M.  Clarke, an  inspiring  classroom teacher and brilliant scientist, passed away on May 15 at the age of 88. I’ve been writing the NewtonSTEM blog for over nine years now, driven by an interest in STEM ignited 50+ years ago in Dr. Clarke’s physics class in Chatham, NJ. Besides being my favorite teacher, she:

  • Studied atomic, nuclear, and solid waste physics at Yale;
  • Earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University;
  • Conducted research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, with the Rutgers University accelerator, with Harvard University’s cyclotron, and at Stevens Institute of Technology’s laser laboratory;
  • Taught physics, science survey, practical chemistry, and environmental science at Chatham High School and created a high-school AP course in nucleonics;
  • Received honors from Princeton University and the National Science Teachers Associations for her excellence in high-school teaching;
  • Improved the precision of medical proton beams in numerous cancer treatments through her research;
  • Founded the New Jersey Business/Industry/Science Education Consortium and served as its Executive Director;
  • Was a trustee, the first woman president, and later an inductee of the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dr. Clarke was super smart, energetic, understanding, and super dedicated to her students, with a great sense of humor. Her classes were fun, challenging, and enlightening. I remember her saying one day, as we worked on experiments, “This is a laboratory — with the emphasis on labor, not oratory!” I’m sure that Dr. Clarke inspired several hundred students to pursue careers in science, engineering, and STEM education.

Girls Who Code Talks: College, Internships, and Careers During COVID

Girls Who Code is sponsoring a series of four free talks about college, internships, and careers in technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View recordings of two completed talks:

And register for these upcoming talks (7PM-8PM):

Mass. Science & Engineering Fair: Alumni Speaker Series

For students in Grades 6-12, alumni of the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair are speaking online in a series about their academic and professional pathways, with an interactive Q&A for each. View them live on Zoom as they are presented (3:30PM – 4:15PM on the days indicated) or see recordings of completed talks.

  • May 14: Nathan Blazon-Brown, Grad Student, Biotechnology, Harvard Extension School
  • May 19: Nick Rabb, PhD Student, Computer Science & Cognitive Science, Tufts University
  • May 20: Cecilia Hinojosa, PhD Candidate, Experimental Psychology, Tufts University
  • May 21: Richard Parent, MustangBio
  • May 26: Maurice (Mo) Steinman, Lightelligence
  • May 27: Lei Poo, Analog Devices
  • May 28: Sean Cotton, Synlogic
  • June 2: Joyce Wu, Analog Devices
  • June 3: Rajni Aneja, Sanofi Genzyme
  • June 4: Rachael Bonoan, Post-doctoral Researcher, Tufts University
  • June 9: Jim Doscher, Analog Devices

EcoTarium Re-Opening June 4 with New Guidelines

The Ecotarium in Worcester will re-open on June 4 under new COVID-19 guidelines for staff and visitors, in compliance with Governor Baker’s “Safer At Home” advisory. In short: People with COVID-19 symptoms will not be admitted. Only some parts of the museum grounds will be open. Tickets must be purchased in advance and for particular arrival times. Masks must be worn. Except for a family or group arriving together, all must stay more at least 6 feet apart.

The Innovation Institute: Let’s Go Outdoors!

The Innovation Institute is offering “Let’s Go Outdoors!” summer programs that combine online get-togethers with outdoor explorations. Its Summer Living in the Lab course, July 6-31, has separate sections for ages 5-8, 9-11, and 12-15. Three virtual gatherings a week — for learning and sharing findings — will be hosted from Ti2’s Virtual Field Station in England by evolutionary biologist and naturalist, Dr. Arkhat Abzhanov. In between sessions, students will conduct structured explorations to discover, identify, compare, and learn about their natural surroundings. Explorations will highlight evolution, natural history, zoology, comparative anatomy, and geology. Children who are old enough will explore independently, and younger ones will need a caregiver/partner to join them. Enrollment closes June 13 — and tuition is discounted for enrollment by May 31.

MIT Museum: Virtual Idea Hub

The MIT Museum has created a Virtual Idea Hub to offer weekly online guidance for maker activities for families, teachers, and youth-group leaders working with Grades 4+. Sessions are every Friday at 11AM on Zoom. Registration is required. Upcoming sessions are:

MSEN Discounts for Aspire: Virtual Robotics Summer Camps

Camp: ASPIRE offers online robotics summer camps run by UB Tech from June 15 through August 28, five days a week, four hours a day, for ages 8+. The Metrowest STEM Education Network offers these discount codes for the camps:

Beginner Camps (use code METROSTEMBEG):

Intermediate Camps (use code METROSTEMINT):

Boston Tech Mom’s List of Online STEM Summer Camps

Boston Tech Mom has curated a list of online STEM summer camps for a variety of ages, experience levels, and interests.

Kids 4 Coding: Virtual Summer Camps, Ages 7-16

Kids 4 Coding, based in Atlanta and now in its 5th year in Massachusetts, is offering one-week virtual summer programs running June 1-August 21 with a maximum of five students per instructor (see instructor bios). Use code SAVE50 for a $50 discount. For more information, email or call 800-484-2664.

  • Adventure Academy MMO:  Students in ages 7-9 combine gaming with learning in an open-world, instructor-led fantasy multi-player environment.
  • Kids 4 Coding Virtual Camp: Students in ages 7-16 code mobile apps, Roblox Studio games, and Minecraft mods, learn to code in a Python-based music environment, and learn to use Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop for graphics and design.
  • Party of Five: Groups of five friends may join together to turn any Kids 4 Coding camp into a private coding camp for themselves.

Ligerbots: ‘Awesome Mentor Project’ is Expanding, Seeks HS & Elementary Students

The Ligerbots’ new Awesome Mentor Project — linking elementary students with high-school mentors during #StayAtHome — has grown to nearly 80 pairs of mentors and students in a short time. The Ligerbots hope that more students of both age groups will join in this free service to help continue younger students’ education during this time. Mentor and mentee pairs meet online weekly to explore a wide variety of subjects, from programming to the arts to grammar and English. In addition to teaching, mentors and mentors can play games, be reading buddies, and do crafts.

High school students interested in mentoring should fill out this form.

Parents interested in signing up their elementary-school children should fill out this form.

For more information, email

Stay tuned for information about how the LigerBots are thinking about adapting their Awesome Mentor Project to be a summer program once school ends.