Gilas set for 3 closed-door tune up games ahead of SEA Games

first_imgNaomi Osaka out of WTA Finals due to injured right shoulder Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)08:07Athletes treated to a spectacle as SEA Games 2019 officially ends06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold05:02SEA Games 2019: Philippines clinches historic gold in women’s basketball05:21Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder03:24PH’s James Palicte boxing light welterweight final (HIGHLIGHTS) The Philippines has won the men’s basketball gold in the SEA Games since 1991.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lava gushes out of Taal Volcano as villagers flee 2 village execs nabbed in Bohol buy-bust LATEST STORIES Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Making the most of its limited practice time, Gilas Pilipinas is slated to play three tune-up games for the next three Mondays, according to head coach Tim Cone.Cone said Gilas will play Alab Pilipinas on November 4 and 11 before taking on an import-led Taiwanese side on November 18.ADVERTISEMENT ‘People evacuated on their own’ MOST READ No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist Keeping his cards close to his chest, Cone said the three exhibitions will be played behind closed doors.“I don’t know how to tell you this, we have a practice game on the 4th against Alab. But It’s going to be—and I’m sorry—a closed game. We’re not gonna allow crowd, fans, or press until after the game is over,” Cone said after wrapping up practice Monday night at Meralco Gym.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4“We’re trying to keep our range tight. We know the people are out there scouting us. And we also want to have total focus cause our time is so short. We want to have total focus on coming in and playing and working against the Alab team and not having to worry about playing for the crowd, playing for you guys or trying to look good or whatever. We’re trying to do the work. That’s why we’re closing that game out.”The national team pool is now in its crucial stretch of preparations for the Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in the country later this year. Phivolcs: Cloud seeding in ashfall affected areas needs study DSWD Bicol donates P1.5M worth of food packs for Taal eruption evacuees ‘Gago’ 400 evacuees from Taal eruption take refuge in Mt. Banahaw Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Elmohamady’s strike downs Wolves to send Villa into Carabao Cup quarters

first_img 3 stalemate Strikes from Anwar El Ghazi and Ahmed Elmohamady downed Wolves to send Aston Villa into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.Elmohamady grabbed a second-half winner to clinch a 2-1 victory as the hosts reached the last eight for the first time since 2012. LATEST targets Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Outmuscled on the pitch and with no established outfield player on the bench, any hopes Wolves had of their first quarter-final in 23 years appeared slim.Yet they levelled out of the blue nine minutes into the second half.Perry was encouraged to cut into the area and Cutrone pounced to divert the ball past Jed Steer from five yards for just his second goal in 17 games.Parity was short-lived, though, as Villa won the tie less than three minutes later. Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ rookie error latest Cutrone levelled for the visitors but it wasn’t enough LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Patrick Cutrone did cancel out El Ghazi’s opener before missing a glorious chance to level for a second time.Villa never looked in serious trouble, though, and they remain in the hunt for a trophy they last won in 1996.It was Wolves’ 21st game of the season and boss Nuno Espirito Santo’s 11 changes suggested the competition was low on his priority list.Teenagers Taylor Perry, Dion Sanderson and Chem Campbell were handed full debuts and, despite Cutrone’s brief leveller, youthful Wolves were rarely a threat. Getty Images – Getty They allowed five-time winners Villa, who made nine changes, to make the early running and Max Kilman made a vital block to thwart Trezeguet after he darted into the box.Villa tried to overpower their visitors, their experience outweighing Wolves’ exuberance.Forward Campbell, at 16 years and 304 days, became Wolves’ second youngest player ever and he dragged wide from the edge of the box but it was a rare foray for the visitors.Villa remained on top and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 28 minutes.It was well crafted from the hosts, who pulled Wolves across the box before Henri Lansbury slipped in El Ghazi and his low effort squirmed under John Ruddy’s outstretched hand. Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman Getty Images – Getty statement Getty Images – Getty Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Elmohamady struck to send Villa into the next round of the Carabao Cup Villa have reached the last eight for the first time since 2012 3 Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Liverpool transfer news live: Mbappe latest, Lille star wants to join Reds in future 3 PEP TALK on target appointed Pep Guardiola gives Man City injury update and talks Christmas schedule update Lansbury was fouled and he aimed a low free-kick to the near post where Elmohamady got ahead of Bruno Jordao to turn in.A routine game had woken up and Cutrone should have made it 2-2 after 59 minutes when he seized on Neil Taylor’s loose pass to run clean through, only for Steer to save his low effort.El Ghazi twice went close to a third, seeing a header saved and a shot deflect wide, before Lansbury could have wrapped victory up with 10 minutes left.Trezeguet’s cross found the unmarked midfielder but he planted a horribly miscued header wide from six yards.last_img read more

4,063 Donegal students to take part in Maths Week Ireland

first_imgSchools across Donegal have so far registered 4,063 students to take part in Maths Week events with many more expected. The national maths festival is set to attract as many as 300,000 people.Open to all, Maths Week 2018 will see a wide variety of fun and engaging maths themed events taking place all over the island of Ireland, north and south, featuring mathematicians and entertainers.Schools and clubs are encouraged to hold their own events to support budding mathematicians. Co-ordinated by Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM Outreach Centre and funded through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme, the Department of Education and Skills, Matrix – the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel, ESB and Xilinx.It is run with more than 50 partner organisations including the universities, institutes of technology, libraries, schools, training colleges and employers.Eoin Gill, Maths Week Ireland Co-Ordinator said, “Working with our many partners, the Maths Week vision is simple, ‘Maths for All’.“Maths and numbers are all around us and this short statement encapsulates the relevance of maths across society, and what we want to achieve via the annual national programme of activity – people of all ages embracing maths and numerical ability to benefit their day-to-day lives. “2018 marks the 13th year of Maths Week and with participation set to be in the region of 300,000, our highest figure yet. We are excited to bring another action-packed programme to people all over the island of Ireland, and the ever increasing number of participants is a testament to the interest and appetite for maths in Ireland.”Maths Week Ireland is the biggest festival of its kind in the world. It has now also been adopted as an initiative by Scotland, in recognition of the important contribution that maths promotion events make in helping young people to have a positive attitude towards maths.Full programme details are available on the Maths Week website www.mathsweek.ie with the ongoing event and programme updates available in advance and during Maths Week via Facebook (@MathsWeek2018) and Twitter (@mathsweek).4,063 Donegal students to take part in Maths Week Ireland was last modified: October 8th, 2018 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:maths week irelandlast_img read more

PHOTOS: Creatures of Galaxy’s Edge

first_imgWhat else have you spotted in Galaxy’s Edge on your travels? Do you have a favorite creature? Let us know in the comments. Share This!During your travels to Galaxy’s Edge, make sure to take time to stop by the Creature Stall in The Market and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, even if shopping isn’t on your list. There’s a variety of creatures you can spy in your travels, so keep your eyes open for these.last_img

Twitter SEO: Ninja tricks for reputation repair

first_imgTwitter is one of my top slam-dunk assets for trying to displace negative content in search results. If your reputation has been harmed by some negative content that ranks when your name is searched, a strong Twitter account could be one of your primary resources for pushing the bad stuff lower on Google and Bing. Unfortunately, many individuals, small businesses and reputation agencies do a poor job of optimizing Twitter profiles to enable this to happen. Read on for my ninja-level tricks for Twitter SEO!When searching for the names of individuals and businesses in search engines, Twitter accounts can appear on page one of Google and Bing if they have been properly optimized. For example, a search for Coca-Cola shows the brand’s main Twitter account on page one in the second position, just below the corporation’s listing for their official website.In another example from Bing, if you search for Pepsi, you’ll find the official Twitter account of the brand appearing on page one for its name searches.It’s probably borderline unremarkable to report that a search for “Trump” in either Google or Bing brings up President Trump’s Twitter account listing within the top two or three positions in the search results. But if you search on Google for other big names, you will often find that their Twitter accounts are ranking high as well.In the example below, featuring the CEO of Tesla cars, Elon Musk, Google has evaluated his tweets to be so salient for his name search that a carousel of them are displayed in the search results, directly below his Twitter account listing. Twitter SEO: Ninja tricks for reputation repairYou are here: HomeDigital MarketingTwitter SEO: Ninja tricks for reputation repair Posted on 9th August 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+sharecenter_img Of course, these are astronomically popular Twitter accounts for celebrity individuals and strong brands with sophisticated social media management. However, even lesser-known names can achieve placement on page one in search engines. And, if you’re on page one, you then have a good chance of using your Twitter account to displace anything negative about you on the first page.But this can’t happen if the Twitter account is not properly optimized. So, I’ll launch straight into some ninja tricks for maximizing the ranking power of your Twitter profile.Optimize your Twitter handle!I’d count this as one of the two most influential and critical elements for your Twitter optimization effort. Your handle, also known as your username, is incorporated by Twitter into your profile URLs and page titles. It also can appear numerous times in the visible text of the profile, and in links and titles pointing from elsewhere to your page.To best optimize the handle for rankings of your name, you need to craft the handle to be spelled as closely as possible to the version of your name that people type in when searching for you. People who don’t understand search engines get this wrong all the time. Here are some tips on crafting good names:Again, imitate the version of your name that people use to search for you. (People often leave off words like “Inc.” and “Company” when searching.) The ideal naming convention is to spell out your name, leaving out any spaces. The closer you match your spelling, the more search engines are likely to evaluate the handle to be highly relevant for your searches (e.g., @chrissmith).If your ideal name configuration is unavailable, which is more likely the more common your name is, then you will have to craft a variation on it. Try to choose an abbreviation that’s as close to the original name as possible. The higher the degree of similarity, the more relevant the search engines will consider the name compared with your actual name. Craft a name that may look like yours if read rapidly, and then test it by using that name to search in Google. If Google automatically associates the alternate version with your website and other online identity materials, then chances are good that you’re on the right track.If your name is longer than the 15 characters allotted by Twitter — which happens ALL the time — you will obviously have to abbreviate it. Again, craft this abbreviated name carefully and test it in Google. For instance, if I tried to use my full name without spaces, it would be: @chrissilversmith. At 16 characters, it’s one character too long to be accepted by Twitter. Instead, I might choose to use @chrissilversmth or @chrissilvrsmith.People love to generate “cute” Twitter handles that may not even closely resemble their actual names, and they can still rank in search (if other factors and the popularity of the profile are sufficient). You can see my Twitter handle of “Si1very” for an example of this — by the time I joined Twitter, it was difficult to get precise matches for common combos of names like “Chris,” “Silver” and “Smith.” My Twitter profile is otherwise fairly well-optimized, so I can get away with this. But if you’re working hard to get your profile to rank well in Google, DO NOT USE CUTE TWITTER HANDLES that don’t closely match your name!Do not add emojis to your username. It may look fun, but the added characters could cause your name to appear to be a less relevant keyword match when people search for you online. If you want to experiment with this later on, after you’ve solved your reputation issues, go for it. But, it could otherwise be sand-bagging your efforts.It’s tempting to use underscores for multi-word names to take the place of spaces (e.g., @chris_silver). Avoid doing this because Google does not treat the underscore as a “white space” character like spaces, periods, dashes and so on. It’s unfortunate that Twitter does not allow one to use dashes. In rare cases where it may be the best option available, you may use the underscore, but be aware that it only provides a fuzzy match relevancy that can be very weak — so, you need to focus on shoring up all other factors to ensure the page ranks well for your name searches.Optimize your full nameIn addition to the Username field, Twitter provides a “Full Name” field (some people refer to it as a “headline”). The Full Name appears prominently at the top of your profile below your profile avatar pic, and also appears with your avatar icon on all of your tweets.The Full Name is quite important for a few reasons, including: 1) the name becomes incorporated into the profile page’s Title text, along with the username; 2) it’s displayed in larger text near the top of the page within an headline tag; and 3) it appears with all of your tweets, and this text is anchor text everywhere your tweets may appear, linking back directly to your profile page.So, the Full Name helps reinforce for search engines what your name is, and therefore what keyword sequence the page should be considered most relevant for. As with the Username field, one has limited characters to use, albeit it’s longer than the usernames, being 20 characters long, maximum.Make the Full Name imitate your actual name that people search on as closely as possible — hopefully the 20 characters are sufficient length to hold your full name. If not, you’ll need to abbreviate it in some way.Leave out nonessential words, and experiment by searching on the name variations to see how Google may evaluate the sequence — does Google already associate the name you craft with your existing online identify materials? If so, that’s a very good sign.Optimize the ‘Bio’ description fieldThis description field is yet another area for adding some keywords related to you. If your name is so long as to not be included in the Username and Full Name fields without abbreviating, definitely reiterate the full name in the Bio, at the beginning of the text field. Otherwise, the bio can allow you to include other combination keywords that can be valuable to your online identity and representation in the search results.The field should certainly describe succinctly who and what you are. But you could also include the name and Twitter handle of your company, if you’re an individual, or the name of the city where you’re located if you’re a local company. Any other keywords that may be mentioned in combination with your name in searches could also be included here. (Very oddly, I note that Twitter does not use the Meta Description tag on its profile pages — something that seems like a glaring missed opportunity from a search optimization perspective. If they used it, the bio text would seem a natural fit for all or a portion of that Meta Description. Hmph!)Fill in the Link URL and Location fieldsThese should be no-brainers, but they apparently aren’t, since some individuals and even businesses, will leave these blank. Filling in your Link field with your website URL can strengthen its rankings in search. Please be sure to use the proper, canonical URL for this.[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]From our sponsors: Twitter SEO: Ninja tricks for reputation repair Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019last_img read more

What NSF’s new diversity grants say about attempts to help minority students

first_img By Jeffrey MervisSep. 14, 2018 , 11:50 AM Nima ShahabShahmir/Green Bank Observatory Students design, construct, and test radio telescopes at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia under a National Science Foundation grant. Ted Hodapp has spent the past 5 years helping boost the number of minority students pursuing U.S. graduate degrees in physics. But Hodapp, who works on education and diversity issues at the American Physical Society in College Park, Maryland, knows the society’s Bridge Program will at best make only a small dent in the nationwide dearth of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans working in all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. He wanted an opportunity to show that Bridge’s approach—which starts by encouraging graduate schools to de-emphasize scores on the standardized GRE entrance exam in the student selection process—could work in other STEM disciplines and, in doing so, promote the value of diversity in U.S. higher education.Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, gave Hodapp $10 million to make that happen. The grant was one of six 5-year awards that the agency announced on 6 September under its new Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) initiative, which NSF Director France Córdova rolled out in 2016 as one of her priorities. The $57 million outlay marks NSF’s first major investment in INCLUDES. The five Alliances, as NSF calls them, will allow STEM educators to scale up existing diversity efforts by partnering with like-minded businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, and local and state governments. The goal is to tear down disciplinary, geographic, and cultural barriers that hinder efforts to promote broader participation in STEM. (NSF also made a $10 million award to SRI International in Menlo Park, California, to coordinate activities and carry out research across all the alliances.)center_img Removing a barrierFor Hodapp, the new grant means extending Bridge—which includes remedial training, mentoring, and other means of support—to graduate training programs in chemistry, astronomy, the geosciences, and material sciences. He’ll be working with the professional societies in those fields, as well as other academics, in hopes of revising graduate admissions practices at departments throughout the country.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“A major research university might get 600 applications for 30 slots, and maybe 350 of the students would do just fine,” he says. “So how do you choose? As a first cut, many use the GRE, which is not a good indicator of success and also puts women and racial minorities at a disadvantage.”In 2013, Hodapp found six universities willing to abandon that simplistic metric and welcome a dozen deserving students with low GRE scores, most of them minorities, who had either been rejected by other programs or who considered it pointless to even apply. Five years later, 38 departments are on board, 168 students are pursuing advanced degrees, the retention rate is 87%, and the program expects its first cohort of Ph.D.s to graduate next spring.Surging enrollment, Hodapp says, puts the Bridge program within reach of its goal of halting the steep attrition rates in physics between undergraduate and graduate training and, simultaneously, doubling the annual number of black, Hispanic, and Native American students earning a physics Ph.D. Hodapp hopes the new Alliance grant, dubbed the Inclusive Graduate Education Network, will produce similar numbers across the physical sciences.The NSF three-stepINCLUDES is the latest addition to NSF’s $925 million stable of diversity programs, which range from elementary school through postdoctoral training and beyond. They are not meant to be mutually exclusive; Hodapp, for example, received a $3 million NSF grant in 2012 to launch Bridge. At the same time, INCLUDES reflects Córdova’s conviction that the only way to make a dent in this seemingly intractable problem is to enlist many sectors of society for the long haul.“The design and focus of INCLUDES is on collaborative partnerships, communications, sustainability, and scale,” says Sylvia James, who leads the Human Resource Development division within NSF’s education directorate. “We’re looking for unique approaches that can integrate NSF’s investment in broadening participation.”“It’s one of NSF’s 10 big ideas,” James adds. “So there’s a 10-year plan for it in our budget.”The distinctiveness of the INCLUDES Alliance program is reflected in how NSF structured the awards. Instead of just asking the community for its best ideas, NSF officials pursued a three-step process.It began with a 2016 call for proposals for pilot grants that would give scientists the chance to test their ideas. NSF received several hundred proposals and chose 70 of these 2-year, $300,000 grants in two rounds of funding.The foundation’s second step was to bankroll a dozen conferences so that the lead scientists on the pilot grants could find soulmates. The idea was to broaden the scope and size of the pilots. It hoped those intellectual marriages would spawn more comprehensive and sophisticated proposals for one of the large Alliance grants. To ensure continuity, each Alliance application had to include a principal investigator from at least one of the pilots.In the end, NSF received 27 Alliance applications, and funded five. That’s twice the number NSF suggested it would fund in the solicitation, James notes, a testament to the high quality of the proposals and the willingness of other NSF directorates and programs to chip in. Applications for a second round of Alliance grants are due in April 2019.An unplanned tiltPreparing a diverse STEM workforce requires engaging students at all levels. But the first round of Alliance winners is skewed toward higher education, specifically, running from 2-year community colleges through graduate training.In addition to Hodapp’s project, NSF gave $10 million to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, based in Washington, D.C., and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They are pursuing a three-pronged attempt to improve the skills of STEM faculty members at dozens of universities in mentoring minority students, grow the ranks of minority STEM faculty, and promote diversity throughout academia. Another $10 million Alliance award, based at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, will help community college students in California and three other states overcome deficits in math as the first step into a STEM major. A fourth $10 million Alliance grant, based at the University of Texas in El Paso, will support expansion of a 12-year-old computing alliance among academic institutions that serve a large number of Hispanic students.The absence of any Alliances focused on precollege or informal science education “was not intentional,” James says. “These projects rose to the top during our merit review process. We’re definitely interested in K-12 and we hope to provide support to that sector in subsequent awards that would complement our first cohort.”Matchmaking woesBecause K-12 education in the United States is largely a local and state responsibility, scientists with pilot grants focused on that population faced a higher bar in trying to build coalitions and attract other partners. April Marchetti, a chemistry professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, ran into that challenge in when she tried to recruit partners for an Alliance proposal.The pilot project offers a summer STEM program for Hispanic girls starting high school, with the goal of bringing them back in subsequent years to provide a glide path for their entry into college and a STEM career. Marchetti had already forged ties with STEM-based companies and other employers of STEM workers, and she hoped an Alliance grant would strengthen those ties and provide additional student support. But like-minded programs were scarce.“We couldn’t find a suitable partner in time for the [Alliance] deadline,” she says “There are so many populations to be served, and so many types of interventions. We want to continue to be part of INCLUDES, but we don’t want to have to change our focus.”Marchetti was able to parlay a chance meeting at one of the NSF conferences into a consultant’s role with a fifth new Alliance. Led by Erica Harvey, a chemistry professor at Fairmont State College in West Virginia, the First2 STEM Success Network will work with students from rural West Virginia, many of them the first in their families to attend college. The $7 million project hopes to reduce the steep outflow from STEM fields in the first 2 years of college with an array of activities designed to cement a student’s interest in science and engineering by showing its relevance to their lives.Harvey was co–principal investigator on a pilot project led by Sue Ann Heatherly, senior education officer at the Green Bank Observatory in rural West Virginia. The radio telescope, built by NSF, had long served as a magnet for STEM educators throughout the state seeking research opportunities for their students. The pilot provided rising freshmen with a 2-week summer program at one of the two institutions, and the Alliance hopes to build out that successful trial.The West Virginia Alliance has an unusually diverse group of partners assembled in large part to satisfy an NSF requirement that all projects include an institutional “backbone” to coordinate activities and to work with NSF and the other Alliance programs. That capacity and expertise already exists at most major research universities and large nonprofit organizations. But it was a significant obstacle for the grassroots operation run by Heatherly and Harvey.“I’m a chemistry professor, and I have my hands full running the internships along with everything else I do,” Harvey says. “It had never occurred to us that it’s worth paying for the infrastructure needed to provide that type of continuity and accountability.”So Heatherly and Harvey reached out to a state entity, the Higher Education Policy Commission. The commission was already managing an NSF-funded program, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, to help states with relatively small amounts of federal research funding, and was eager to come on board. The scientists also enlisted SRI International as a “mentor backbone” to help the commission climb the learning curve.Bending the barsHowever, some scientists with pilot grants found the backbone component to be an insurmountable hurdle.Jannette Carey, a chemistry professor at Princeton University, and a few colleagues have been running a science education program in the New Jersey prison system for a dozen years with more than 100 student volunteers. She used the pilot, dubbed STEPS (Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons) to STEM, to add additional offerings, including a first-ever laboratory course, as stepping stones toward a 4-year degree for prisoners after they are released. “But as a volunteer organization,” she says, “we couldn’t meet the requirement for the infrastructure needed to collaborate and communicate with other organizations and institutions.”Her own attempts at matchmaking also proved a disappointment. “We went to the conferences in hopes of finding partners who had a realistic chance of submitting a credible proposal,” Carey says. “But none of the other pilots shared our goals of bringing university-level courses into a prison.” A last-minute partnership with another pilot grantee that focuses on improving the math skills of underrepresented minorities failed to make the initial cut, she says.Carey has a good sense of what passes muster at NSF, having run an NSF-funded program to provide research experiences for undergraduates (REU) in biophysics for several years. And she hasn’t abandoned the idea of gaining additional NSF support for something that occupies a unique niche in the agency’s portfolio of efforts to reach underrepresented populations.That hope is embodied in her latest proposal. She’s asking that her next REU grant allow her to work with students in all fields that NSF supports, not just in the physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer science programs that relate to biophysics. It’s an essential step in meeting the needs of this underserved population, she argues.“A lot of formerly incarcerated students gravitate toward psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and other disciplines in the social sciences,” she says. “So including them could make an important contribution to growing the STEM workforce.” What NSF’s new diversity grants say about attempts to help minority studentslast_img read more