May 2020 Newsletter

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Building Omaha’s Future Leaders

May 2020

Message from the Director

As we have adhered to the new culture of social distancing, and as we forge a new normal, I am inspired by the creativity in how our community met these challenges. Now more than ever we are connecting with each other and offering support. The Omaha STEM Ecosystem believes in the power of connections, collaborations and communications. We’d like to share some of the stories we’ve received.

Telling our Story

The Omaha STEM Ecosystem (OSE) provided the connection that landed me one of the best jobs I have ever had, which provided opportunities to build the tech talent ecosystem. As the Chair of the Diverse & Engaged Stakeholders Committee I was able to have many conversations on how to connect and collaborate. During a committee meeting Sundiata Menelik, D&E member advised me of a Director position opening at Metropolitan Community College Workforce Innovation Division. After applying, interviewing and ultimately being offered the position, I was provided a variety of opportunities to connect and collaborate in all sectors. Shortly after being at MCC I was able to lead a team of experts to develop MCC Code School, which has a purpose to upskill tech talent in technical and soft skills with corporate partners. Our first partner to jump on board was Mutual of Omaha, who then created an internal apprenticeship program and has 6 employees committed to the program.
When you take a moment to step back and look at the meaning behind these connections, anyone can see that none of this would have occurred without the direct impact of OSE. OSE connected me to a new job in higher education, who allowed me to take a vision to serve our corporate partners to grow their staffs’ tech talent as well as creating retention within their organization. Cross sector collaboration at its best. My life and many others were improved by this OSE connection!”

Victoria Novak, M.P.A.
Director of Workforce & IT Innovation
Center for Advanced & Emerging Technology
Metropolitan Community College

The OSE Research and Advocacy Committee’s White Paper on Status of STEM
Education in Omaha.
The Omaha STEM Ecosystem (OSE) is excited for the release of the OSE Research and Advocacy
Committee’s White Paper on the Status  of STEM Education in Omaha. Jenna Yentes, Ph.D. at UNO,
serves as Chair for this committee and  summarized, “Through the dedication of OSE committee
members, partners, and supporters, significant progress has been made in identifying and leveraging community strengths and resources in STEM. To capitalize on this momentum and enhance our efforts to meet workforce needs and move Omaha and Nebraska forward in STEM, we now must focus our efforts on an effective, iterative, and cyclical process of ongoing communication and accountability. We believe that expanding our communication outreach, establishing clear indicators of success, tracking our progress, and continuing to work together to address shared challenges will have a positive impact on Omaha STEM initiatives, now and in the future.” (Research and Advocacy Committee White Paper, February 2020)

OSE Research Committee White Paper

Statement for New slate of officers:

The OSE is proud to announce the newly installed slate of officers for the Executive Committee.
We thank them for their time and commitment
Chair: Levi Thiele – AIM Institute
Vice Chair: Karlus Cozart – C3K1 Consulting LLC
Secretary: Tracie Reding – University of Nebraska Omaha
Treasurer: Elizabeth Mulkerrin – Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Round Table:

As we navigate this culture of COVID-19 protocol, we draw on the knowledge of our diverse network of thought leaders and experts to understand the implications to our work, education, and future workforce. We invite you to join us for this series of Virtual Roundtable discussions to share our experiences and lessons learned.

Celebrating Creativity in a COVID-19 Culture – Navigating What’s Next: Now, Near and Future
Virtual Roundtable Series

June 23, 2020, September 23, 2020, October 20, 2020

Watch for Invite Soon!

Midland Business Journal Article
Midland Business Journal is featuring the Omaha STEM Ecosystem in the May 15th issue HERE. Check the first page of the Career Education and Development section on page 21!


Events to look forward to: 

Techademy Virtual: “iSTEM Camps for 5th – 10th Graders Workshop Registration Now Open! We have something for everyone with Techademy Virtual – summer workshops for elementary, middle, and high school students! From programming apps, exploring the world of cybersecurity, having fun with robotics, to creative thinking with IT Innovation – spark an interest in technology, or help develop a young tech enthusiest further with our summer-long camps! This summer’s camps will be held remotely over Zoom. Classes will be held in the morning and afternoon for 2 hours per session, see our full list of camps here!” – IS&T

CodeCrush Virtual: “In March, we were able to host a series of panels with Werner, Flywheel, and IS&T alumni/current students for the Spring 2020 CodeCrush class! Throughout April, we coordinated weeky hands-on virtual sessions for the girls. From Gaming with Coding, Bioinformatics, Scratch, to IT Innovation, we hosted CodeCrushers from all over the Midwest. We’ve also made all this content available on our iSTEM Virtual Toolbox page! Summer Summit We’re planning our CodeCrush Virtual Summit for June 22nd – 26th! Interested in hosting a session? Get in touch with Hina Patel: CodeCrush” – IS&T

Reference our Staying at Home Resources: Check out all the information on ways to make staying at home an opportunity to learn and grow by clicking on the image above or this link!

We want you to be a part of the conversation about how to find solutions for addressing the shortfall of STEM professionals in the Omaha community. To collaborate with innovators, educators, researchers and leaders of tomorrow, join the Omaha STEM Ecosystem today at

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