June 2017 Newsletter

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Building Omaha Future Leaders

Newsletter – June 2017

A STEM Professional You Should Know!

Shannon Devivo –Environmental Engineer – Olsson Associates

Since elementary school, I have always had a huge love for math and science. In high school, I took advanced courses in math and science, and had several great teachers who made those subjects interesting.  I wasn’t sure what major I wanted to pursue in college, but there were a lot of scholarship opportunities for engineers at the time, and it seemed like a good fit. I received a Scott Scholarship to study engineering at UNO, and with an interest in environmental science as well, I decided to pursue civil engineering in order to become an environmental engineer.

   During my undergraduate career, I worked as an intern at a consulting firm doing field investigations and remediation for chemical and fuel spills. I went on to get my MS in Environmental Engineering from UNL.  Since graduating, I have continued to work on remediation projects, including performing field investigations, designing remedies, overseeing remedy construction, and monitoring system performance. I am the Outreach Chair for the Society of Women Engineers Eastern Nebraska Section and the Environmental Technical Chair for the American Society of Civil Engineers. I hope to encourage children to consider a career in the STEM fields, as there are so many opportunities available to someone with a STEM background.

For more information, contact Shannon at sdevivo@olssonassociates.com


Girls Inc. of Omaha 1st class of Eureka! STEM graduates

Girls Inc. of Omaha EUREKA! -STEM launched in 2012 and recently graduated its first five-year cohort of seventeen girls in May. Almost all of the participants are pursuing a college education in a STEM-associated field.

Eureka! is a 5-year program in partnership with University of Nebraska Omaha and several local agencies, businesses and companies. The rush of activity takes place every June at the University of Nebraska Omaha campus (UNO) but there are also monthly Eureka! gatherings and outings to keep the momentum going throughout the year.

Girls begin the program the summer before they enter into the 8th grade. For the first 2 summers, they spend the month of June on the UNO campus working with professors and college students in STEM classes: building bottle rockets; tracking weather balloons; programming robots; bioinformatics; engineering; geology; chemistry and more. In addition to the STEM-related opportunities, the girls also participate in physical education lessons from UNO Campus Recreation including swimming lessons.  The 3rd & 4th summers are spent in externships, and in the 5th year the girls work on their college scholarships, ACT prep and college applications.

The 3rd and 4th summer’s externships are crucial. The girls are individually matched with local business and organizations in their STEM field of interest. They get firsthand experience working in the real world. Girls apply what they have learned in Eureka! and get a glimpse of what they want to study during their college career. Each girl earns a paycheck which is distributed at the end of the externship.

Girls Inc. of Omaha is excited about the completion of the very first EUREKA! cohort graduates. The goal was to maintain fifty percent or greater of the participants over the five-year period. The goal was reached with this first cohort of girls. This summer, we have 5 more cohorts of girls (112 girls total) who began the program the first week of June.

These graduates have been accepted into the following institutions of higher learning: University of Nebraska-Omaha, Metropolitan Community College, North Dakota State University, Central Missouri University, Lincoln University and Pikes Peak Community College.

A 2013 report by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that men made up double the percentage of women in STEM careers, a gap that increases even further for women of color.  Girls Inc. is actively working to change that.

For more information, contact: Emily Mwaja – Director of Programs, Girls Inc. of Omaha emwaja@girlsincomaha.org


Professional Development Opportunities:

  • Improvement of Instruction: Tools for STEM Learning –Fall Semester                              

In partnership with the Omaha STEM Ecosystem, UNO and Prairie STEM, this 3-credit, blended learning graduate course is designed to provide students with an understanding of principles and practices utilized in STEAM based curriculum planning with today’s multifaceted students. This course is for educators with no STEM experience as well as those with more extensive experience in STEM.  The class meets four Friday evenings at the Education Building at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the rest is on-line.

For information contact: Dr. Neal Grandgenett   ngrandgenett@unomaha.edu 


  • Professional Development Workshop

  Workshops are open to all educators. Explore new curriculum, participate in hands-on activities and build your knowledge of the natural world.  Workshops are available at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Wildlife Safari Park, located off Nebraska’s I-80, Exit426

For More information, go to: http://www.omahazoo.com/education/educator-  corner/professional-development/

  • Tech Opportunities For Students of All Ages 

AIM Brain Exchange is home to tech learning experiences for youth ages 7yrs. – 17 yrs., and offers robust tech training opportunities for adults through AIM Interface school.

For more information, go to:   https://careerlink.com/brainexchangee


Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming STEM Events

  • Lab Girl Author to Headline Omaha Public Library Fundraiser

Meet New York Times-bestselling author Hope Jahren on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, when the Omaha Public Library Foundation welcomes the Lab Girl author to Omaha. The evening fundraiser will be held at the Institute for Culinary Arts Building on the Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha Campus.

For more information, go to : https://www.omahalibraryfoundation.org/hope-jahren/

  • WOW! That’s Engineering!  

The 5th Biennial Outreach Event in Omaha is aimed at encouraging young women to pursue careers in engineering. Saturday, September 30th, from 8:30 am to 3 pm at the College of St. Mary Campus in Omaha. Girls will participate in hands-on activities with local female engineers.  Lunch will be provided, and the event is FREE. Local middle school and high school girls are encouraged to attend. Parents will be invited to an afternoon session to discuss additional ways they can encourage their child to consider a career in engineering.                                           

For more information, contact: Shannon DeVivo, SWE Eastern Nebraska Outreach Chair at outreach@swe-nebraska.org.   Or check out the website : http://www.swe-nebraska.org/wow-thats-engineering.html

Do you have STEM related news or program to share with the Omaha STEM community? Contact us to find out how to get your story or program featured, or how to become a member.


            Website:  OmahaSTEM.com                                                        Facebook:  OmahaSTEM


One Comment so far:

  1. Karlus Cozart Sr. says:

    This was a great newsletter, Julie.

    Keep up the outstanding job.



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