ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

 

Tesla Selects Site Outside Of Reno For “Gigafactory.”

The AP  (9/4) reports that Tesla “has chosen an industrial park outside Reno to build its battery ‘gigafactory,’ a person familiar with Tesla’s plans said Wednesday.” A formal announcement is expected on Thursday. The choice of Nevada by Tesla “takes it a big step closer to mass producing an electric car that costs around $35,000 and can go 200 miles on a single charge.”

USA Today  (9/4, Woodyard) reports that Gov. Brian Sandoval “has called a news conference Thursday in Nevada’s capitol, Carson City, where the deal is expected to be announced.” The plant “has been one of the nation’s most highly sought projects among state economic development officials.” Tesla, in conjunction with Panasonic, “plans to spend $4 billion-$5 billion on the project and employ up to 6,500.”

Report Says Tesla’s Gigafactory Plans May Be Too Big. Forbes  (9/3, Maynard) also reports that Lux Research says the Tesla gigafactory “project will create significant overcapacity in lithium-ion battery packs, and predicts the company will only be able to sell about half of what it plans to produce.” Forbes explains that Lux Research projects sales of only 240,000 Tesla Model 3 cars in 2020 and “believes the factory will have 57 percent too much capacity, which could spell trouble for Tesla’s battery partner, Panasonic.”

Higher Education

 

2014 Graduates See Higher Average Starting Salaries Than 2013 Class.

The Wall Street Journal  (9/4, Korn) reports that the average starting salaries of 2014 college graduates are 7.5% higher than salaries for the 2013 class. The Journal says that the only professional field that exhibited salary decreases was education, noting that this is disconcerting because education also recruited the most graduates of any industry. The Journal also says that 2014 graduates out-earned their expected salaries, but suggested that this was due to low expectations.

 

Federal Reserve Bank Of New York Study Finds Many College Graduates Earn No More Than High School Graduates.

The Wall Street Journal  (9/4, Belkin, Subscription Publication) reports on a study issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finding that that while the median earning of college graduates at $48,000 was much higher that the median for those with only high-school diplomas at $25,052, yet about one quarter of college graduates earn $27,000 or less. One reason is that many college graduates have jobs that do not require college education. The report also found that a 2013 graduate will take ten years to recover the average cost of a degree.

 

Colleges With Special Character Do Better Among Students Admitted To Multiple Colleges.

The New York Times  (9/4, Irwin, Subscription Publication) reports on findings by Parchment after reviewing “data from the approximately 28,000 applicants who used the service to apply for college this past academic year.” The company found that among students admitted to multiple schools those schools that have a special character did better than they do in other national rankings. Examples of such schools include the US Air Force Academy, Berea College, Brigham Young University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and M.I.T.

 

NSF Grant Funds Biotechnology Training Program.

The Vallejo (CA) Times Herald  (9/4, Glidden) reports a National Science Foundation grant of $199,960 will be used to keep Solano Community College’s Single-Use Bioreactor Systems Education and Training Program running. The program focuses on training students for biotechnology manufacturing and is unique to the college.

 

NSF Grant Will Help Bring Female Faculty To Oregon State.

KEZI-TV  Eugene, OR (9/4, Krause) reports Oregon State University received a $3.5 million National Science Foundation grant that will go “towards improving conditions for women” in STEM fields. The money will help recruit women faculty and staff to OSU.

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Research and Development

 

Toyota To Spend $35 Million On V2V Communication.

The Detroit (MI) Free Press  (9/4, Priddle) reports that Toyota has announced it will be investing $35 million in its Collaborative Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan over the next six years in an effort to “focus on the transition to automated and connected-vehicle technologies.” The Free Press reports that the new money will fund research on “guidelines for touch screens and sensors that deliver safety information to drivers and enable cars to communicate with each other to avoid collisions.” Osamu Nagata, CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, said “as new automotive technologies continue to evolve, CSRC is committed to working with its partners across the industry and beyond to help realize a future of mobility that is safer and greener than today.”

Industry News

 

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office Awarded $21M Contract.

The Targeted News Service  (9/3, Harms) notes that the Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, Texas, has been awarded a contract by the US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland. The $21 million contract calls “for non-recurring engineering in support of the MV-22 integrated aircraft survivability equipment universal urgent needs statement effort.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

 

ACLU Complains To ED About Florida County’s Single-Sex Classes.

The Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal  (9/3, Martin) reports that the American Civil Liberties Union “has filed a federal complaint” with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against Volusia County schools alleging that Woodward Avenue Elementary School in Deland, Florida’s single-sex classes are in violation of Title IX. The story notes that enrollment in the single-sex classes is voluntary and there are co-ed classes available. The ACLU is also filing complaints against a number of districts that offer single-sex classes.

The Orlando (FL) Sentinel  (9/4, Postal) reports on the complaints, saying that the ACLU alleges that the districts depend on “disproven notions about how boys and girls learn and develop.”

 

Active Shooter Exercises Come Under Legal Scrutiny.

The Wall Street Journal  (9/3, Frosch, Subscription Publication) reports that there have been a number of legal complaints in the US recently over realistic active shooter exercises in schools and workplaces. Advocates believe that the exercises, sometimes unannounced, simulate reality and prepare participants for a similar real-life scenario, while critics assert that the initiatives can be terrifying and can often get out of control.

 

North Carolina School District Plans To Add Skills Classes.

The Wilkes (NC) Journal-Patriot  (9/4, Hubbard) reports Wilkes County school and Wilkes Community College officials are planning on offering more “skills-based courses” to high school students, prompted by the possibility of obtaining a Golden LEAF Foundation grant. The officials presented a plan to expand access to courses and were discussed during a meeting on Tuesday. Officials “made clear” that the courses would be offered at the high schools rather than at another location.

 

Buffalo Launches Programs To Introduce Students To Medical Careers.

The Buffalo (NY) News  (9/4, Lankes) reports students at Buffalo, New York’s Math Science Technology Preparatory School will have the opportunity to participate in a program that will train them to enter the workforce in the medical fields. The program will provide training to help students become a medical assistant, laboratory technician, health information technology specialist, and environmental facility manager. The program is being funded by a Federal grant.

 

New Private School Opens In Kansas, Boasts New Technology.

The McClatchy-Tribune News Service  (9/4, Hoppa) reports five students began the year at a private college-preparatory high school in Atchison, Kansas. The school has “state-of-the-art- technology, interactive smartboards and iPads” and focuses on STEM education. Scholarships are available for some students who cannot pay tuition, and the school will see an influx of international students at the semester.

 

New Charter School In Texas Focuses On STEM Learning.

The Odessa (TX) American  (9/4, Sterkel) reports on the first days of classes at a charter-run STEM academy in Texas. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s STEM Academy K-6 school opened up this year and will teach students STEM skills by focusing on hands-on education. For example, students in a third grade classroom will be drawing on fiction and non-fiction reading to build their own movable model of the solar system. The school will add a new grade every year through 12th grade.

Also in the News

 

Company Conducts Surveys Of Students To Assess Teachers.

The New York Times  (9/4, Manjoo, Subscription Publication) reports on efforts by Panorama Education to “assess how well teachers are doing by conducting scientifically valid student questionnaires that collect data about a variety of factors that might affect a teacher’s performance.” So far its surveys have been used in “more than 5,000 schools,” including “some of the largest school systems in the nation, including the Los Angeles Unified School District.” The surveys allow teachers and schools to adapt to their students’ expectations.

Wednesday’s Lead Stories

 

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