September 2017 Newsletter

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Building Omaha’s Future Leaders

September 2017

A STEM Professional You Should Know!

 DeeDee Bennett, Ph.D.

Dr. Bennett is an Assistant Professor in the Emergency Services Program within the School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Her primary research areas include, emergency management, socially vulnerable populations during disasters, emergency communications, disaster policy, and mobile wireless communications.

She teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level; her classes include disaster response and recovery, intergovernmental and cross sector collaboration during disasters, and vulnerable populations.

Since joining UNO, Dr. Bennett has obtained nearly $335,000 in research grants. Of note, in 2017, she was one of 27 nationwide to receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) grant. She has published in various journals and presented at several conferences related to emergency management, disability, wireless technology, and future studies.

Dr. Bennett was previously employed as a Research Scientist in the Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At CACP, she contributed as lead researcher on three projects related to emergency communications, educational and training efforts for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and social media during disasters. Each of the projects were developed to enhance considerations for and lessen vulnerability among people with disabilities.  Prior to her work at CACP, she was a research engineer and laboratory manager for over 6 years at a mobile wireless research and design center in Georgia.

Dr. Bennett received her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University’s Political Science Department in Fire and Emergency Management. In addition to bringing expertise in emergency management, Dr. Bennett has a unique academic background having received both her M.S. in Public Policy and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a member of International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

National STEM Learning Ecosystem Conference in KC

October 2nd – 4th

A team from the Omaha STEM Ecosystem, Julie Sigmon (Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director), Karlus Cozart (Economic Inclusion Project Director /OPS), and Tracie Reding ( UNO Doctoral Candidate @UNO/OPS) attended a two day conference in Kansas City as a member of the National SFN STEM Learning Ecosystem including the 56 STEM Ecosystem communities across the nation. The conference focused on Cultivating the STEM Workforce of the Future, which the Omaha team took full advantage of the national speakers and resources as we reviewed the national workforce data in comparison to that of Omaha and Nebraska.  The information gathered from the design studios will help drive the work of the Omaha STEM Ecosystem as we move forward in our mission to encompass a rich array of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics opportunities that ensure our community is meeting the needs for the future skills, processes, and thinking necessary to be successful in STEM professionals.

In addition, the Omaha STEM Ecosystem was excited to have the opportunity to present to our STEM Ecosystem peers, in one of the breakout sessions.  Tracie Reding’s presentation “Mapping Connectedness: Social Analysis and Systems Thinking in Practice”, drew a large group interested in her research and data. The Omaha STEM Ecosystem uses the results of Tracie’s survey and data to assure that, as an organization we are fostering strong engagement and collaboration among diverse stakeholders.  We will continue to use the annual survey, sent out in Oct., as a tool to measure our growth of stakeholder engagement.


You’re Invited! Register NOW!

Not “Random Acts of STEM”: Building A STEM Centered Workforce

OCTOBER 17, 2017

The STEM Ecosystem is excited to host two events on October 17, 2017 at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.   Shonna Dorsey – Vice President of Tech Education for AIM Institute – is the keynote speaker at both events.

7:30AM –9:00AM –     Business Sector Conversation on STEM Skilled Workforce

4:30PM – 5:00PM       Tour of New Education Building at HD Zoo and Aquarium

5:00PM – 7:00 PM      Presentation and Networking Reception

For more information contact: Julie Sigmon


Professional Development Opportunities

Professional Development Workshops

STEM for Elementary

Most teaches know what STEM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Beyond the acronym, what does a good STEM lesson look like?  Join us for a two-day workshop geared specifically towards elementary teachers to dive into STEM.  On the first day, we will explore different lessons and learn to identify features of a good STEM lesson.  We will also begin to develop a more concrete understanding of STEM.  On the second day, we will focus on helping you transform traditional science activities into robust STEM lessons.               

October 21st (two-day workshop) 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. $30 (Lunch included) For more information, go to:

Additional 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, Exit 426.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming STEM Events

 Celebration of National NANO day – Durham Museum   

The Durham Museum is asking area teachers to help us celebrate the opening of the fall exhibit, ZOOM INTO NANO, by participating on our “Nanometer Challenge” on National Nanotechnology day, October 9, 2017. Teachers and students are asked to come up with a creative way to represent one-hundred billion nanometers.

For more information, email:

Bryan High Urban Agriculture Business Community

October 12th Thursday – 11:30 – 12:30 (light lunch provided) OR 3:30 -4:30 

Come find out how you and/or your company can be a part of the only Urban Agricultural Academy in the State. We are looking to add members to our advisory committee to advise, advocate and support students who are dedicating themselves to agriculture and academic success.  This event will allow you to learn more about the academy, how students are preparing for careers in agriculture and how you can become involved.

For more information, contact Mary Miller –Academy Coordinator

Vex IQ Robotics Tournament –Volunteers Needed

Mary Our Queen School is looking for volunteers to help with the Robotics Tournament, Nov. 11th, Mary Our Queen;  February 3rd  St. Alberts/Council Bluffs; and March 3rd, NE/Iowa Regional Championship.

judges will be needed from 10:30 AM– 1:00Pm.

For more information, contact: Tara Petersen

Youth Fall Clean-Up –Keep Omaha Beautiful

October 20th – 22nd

Each fall, Keep Omaha Beautiful conducts a large-scale clean-up event in which local youth groups pick up litter and recyclable items from Omaha neighborhoods, school yards, parks, trails and dam sites. Participants receive fun incentives and a letter of recommendation from the Mayor.


This year, the event is scheduled for the weekend of October 20th-22nd.  Groups are only expected to participate on one of the three days and can choose the date and time of their clean-up.  Registration deadline is Oct. 13th.


If you would like to register a group or an individual, please email:

Or call: 402.444.7774

Youth who would like to participate but do not have a group, can join the Keep Omaha Beautiful Baxter Subaru’s cleanup, Sunday, Oct. 22nd at 12PM at Levi Carter Park. 


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.                   Facebook:  OmahaSTEM



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