Summary: Sparks are appearing across Kentucky. Students, educators and citizen leaders strike a light as they spearhead next-generation initiatives. Their ideas will illuminate the path to Kentucky's future. We follow the light of these sparks to bring you the stories behind them. This is the Innovation Update.
Jacob Gable graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2005 with a B.S. in Computer Science. Now he's a senior software developer for Sprout Social in Chicago. Innovate Kentucky connected with Jacob through an outreach effort for its career database, and Jacob volunteered to share his experience and expertise for an episode of the Innovation Update. So on this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Jacob about where his passion for computer science began and how it developed during his time in school. The duo also discuss the rewarding aspects of computer science.
Kentucky recently introduced the Districts of Innovation program, which seeks to mimic the success of charter schools by allowing schools (or school districts) to be exempt from certain regulations and education policy. Schools can apply to change the school schedule, to use competency-based learning, to explore new pathways to graduation, etc. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with David Cook – Director of Innovation at the Kentucky Department of Education – and Gary Houchens, an associate professor at Western Kentucky University, about the new program and where charter schools fit into the discussion.
The Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library in Glasgow received a traveling exhibit, Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference. The exhibit will open on December 17 and close on February 20. It will include informative panels, hands-on activities and sessions with special guests who specialize in engineering. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Martha Nell Thomas, outreach coordinator for the library, about the work that went into securing the exhibit and what the benefits are for those who choose to attend.
STEM education is alive and well in the state capital, and Mark Harrell and Rebecca Logan are proof of that. Mark is the District STEM Coordinator while Rebecca is a 5th grade STEM teacher at Elkhorn Elementary. Both educators implement Project Lead the Way curriculum that integrates science with engineering, and both have seen great results in their classrooms. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Mark and Rebecca about their experiences with teaching STEM, what activities they've had success with and why increased STEM literacy is vital to Kentucky's future.
The Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative will host its annual conference Friday, October 12 at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. The next day, SKyTeach will help facilitate a Girls in Science STEM Day at Snell Hall on the campus of Western Kentucky University. Together, the two events will reach out to girls and encourage them to pursue STEM disciplines in high school and college and work in STEM fields once they graduate. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with UK's Sue Scheff and WKU's Melissa Rudloff about the conference and the Girls in STEM day, and also why encouraging girls in STEM is vital to Kentucky's future.
Eastern Kentucky University, in partnership with Kentucky Educational Television (KET), was recently named one of the six NASA downlink sites where students will be able to communicate with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The event, which takes place Jan. 11 on EKU's campus, will feature a 20-minute question and answer session with the astronauts. Approximately 180 middle schoolers from EKU's service area will be in attendance. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Jaleh Rezaie – associate dean of Graduate Education and Research and executive director of the STEM-H Institute at EKU – about the NASA downlink program and the growing need for increased STEM awareness across Kentucky.
Ben Braun and Carolyn Troha are both involved with the Central Kentucky Math Circles, a group whose goal is to provide students with opportunities and encouragement to become passionate and excited about mathematics. The CKMC offers two math circles: the high school math circle, which is open to all interested high school students across Kentucky, and the elementary school math circle, which is currently serving students at Tates Creek Elementary School. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Ben and Carolyn about both math circles and the need for math programming in Kentucky. For more information on the CKMC, visit: http://www.ms.uky.edu/~circles/
Brenon Conn and Aaron Tribou are two young innovators from Murray and the co-founders of Digicrits. As described on their Facebook page, Digicrits "combines social networking with a web-based directory of qualified creative individuals, who wish to market and display their creative products and services to a vast array of fellow artists and design consumers." In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Aaron and Brenon about Digicrits and their experiences as young innovators. Check out www.digicrits.com once the site launches August 3.
Recent Northern Kentucky University graduates Tamara Dickerson and Stephanie Ward started with an innovative idea: make the process of creating custom t-shirts easier and more affordable. That led Tamara and Stephanie to create Inxpression, a company that sells custom t-shirts out of a vending machine. If you've got five minutes and $20, an Inxpression machine can create a custom t-shirt with any design you like. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Stephanie and Tamara talk about how their idea came about and where they are in the entrepreneurial process. They also share some advice with young innovators who might be on the precipice of turning their idea into an actuality. With such an exciting idea, it's going to be hard to wait until August 2013 – Inxpression's intended launch date – to get custom Innovate Kentucky shirts!
The See Blue STEM Camp was held June 11-15 at the College of Education building on the University of Kentucky's campus. Under the direction of Dr. Craig Schroeder, who started the camp in 2010 at Jessie Clark Middle School in Lexington, the camp taught 70 6-8th graders about STEM through classes in neurobiology, astronomy, math, engineering and LEGO robotics. In this episode of the Innovation Update, Josh talks with Dr. Schroeder about his camp and the need for summer programming in the STEM fields. For more information on the See Blue STEM Camp, click here.
"Global dispersion of talent, capital, ideas, technology and markets has made the game of innovation more complex and more exciting." Those words help describe the lecture given by Rohit Shukla, CEO of the Larta Institute, at the 8th Annual KIEC on June 1 in Louisville. The lecture was entitled "Innovation and Entrepreneurs: A Network-Centric Approach" and focused on a more global look at the process of innovation. Mr. Shukla was kind enough to allow his lecture to be included as an episode of the Innovation Update. So in this third episode we break away from Innovate Kentucky's state-centric look at innovation and embrace the notion on a much larger scale.