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

Leading the News

More International Women Students Studying STEM Fields At US Universities.

US News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Durrani) reports on the growth of “female international students pursuing STEM degrees at American universities.” One such student said she chose USC Viterbi because “it is known for having strong women in the engineering community,” as well as having “many research opportunities available to undergrads.” Overall there has been a 68 percent increase in “active female international students studying STEM in the U.S.” since 2010, rising from 76,638 students to 128,807 in 2015. Most come from India or China. The New York University Tandon School of Engineering has seen a more than tripling of its international women students in STEM fields “in the last decade.” The students quoted say they chose US universities because of the flexibility of the programs, and the availability of research and internships.

Higher Education

Tata Trusts To Provide Fellowships For Students From India To Study At Clemson’s ICAR.

The Greenville (SC) News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Bell, Coyne) reports Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons, who received an honorary doctorate from Clemson University in 2015, has benefited the school’s International Center for Automotive Research, as the Tata Trusts, chaired by Ratan Tata, “has agreed to provide fellowships for five students from India to study automotive engineering at ICAR,” including the cost of “tuition, fees, housing, books and other expenses,” according to Zoran Filipi, chair of the automotive engineering department. GSA Business Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19) reports the fellowships will be $26,500 a year.

HBCUs In Louisiana See Rise In Enrollment.

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, March) reports enrollment at “most historically black colleges and universities in Louisiana,” is up “modestly” following years of decline. The increase is explained by “a rise in the number of non-black students attending HBCUs, as well as recent racial conflicts at predominantly white institutions.” The HBCUs have generally “lower tuition, higher academic programs and…a safer college environment,” according to Marybeth Gasman of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jackson State University Wins NSF Grant To Support Training High School Teachers In STEM Fields.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19) reports Mississippi’s Jackson State University has been awarded a five-year $3.7 million National Science Foundation grant for “high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers for all students in high-need school districts.” The grant will support a program that came from “a successful three-year pilot project led by JSU in partnership with Xavier University of New Orleans.”

Crouch Joins UTA.

Peter E. Crouch, dean of engineering for the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and the former dean of Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, joins UTA in August as dean of the nationally ranked College of Engineering and as a professor of electrical engineering, WALB ABC 10 Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Albany, GA (7/18) in Albany, Ga., KIII ABC 3 Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Corpus Christi, TX (7/18) in Corpus Christi, KOAM CBS 7 Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Pittsburg, KS (7/18) in Joplin, Mo., KFMB CBS 8 Share to FacebookShare to Twitter San Diego (7/18) in San Diego and many other websites reported.

Administration Struggling To Monitor Student Loans Amid Rise In Debt.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Nasiripour) reports a “series of recent moves by the federal government could prolong” student loan borrowers’ “misery.” The Obama Administration has “struggled to police student loan collectors at a time when student loan debt has skyrocketed.” The piece explains that “high debt burdens could hamper household consumption and limit demand for new credit, stunting economic growth, as the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and the nation’s financial regulators have warned.” Bloomberg adds that the Education and Treasury departments, along with the CFPB, “said in September that student loan companies should be accountable to borrowers.” They said government agencies and debtors “deserve recourse when loan companies violate laws, regulations, or their federal contracts.”

White House Report Describes Student Debt Situation.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Douglas-Gabriel) reports on a White House report based on ED data showing that those with “the hardest time repaying their student loans” borrowed money to attend “for-profit or community colleges,” but did not graduate. The report was presented by Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, who said, “A college education is not a guarantee, so it is important to select the right school.”

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Research and Development

Startup Uses NREL Technology For Efficient Air Conditioner.

Scientific American Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Fares) reports on Florida-base startup Be Power Tech’s hybrid fuel cell and air conditioner which “combines the right technology with the right use case to be truly transformative.” The unit runs on natural gas and produces extra electricity and uses a low-power evaporative cooling mechanism. The company has an exclusive license from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to use a desiccant-enhanced evaporative cooler developed by the lab.


University Of Maryland Eastern Shore Receives Grant To Start Workforce Training For Agriculture And Renewable Energy.

The Baltimore Sun Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Gantz) reports University of Maryland, Eastern Shore has been given a $1 million grant from Delmarva Power “to launch a workforce training program for agriculture and renewable energy jobs.” The university will use the funds to start the Green Collar Initiative.

Global Developments

IMF Cuts Global Growth Forecast After Brexit Vote.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Mayeda) reports the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “scrapped its forecast for a pickup in global growth this year,” pointing to the UK vote to leave the European Union (EU) as a factor, and “warned the damage could worsen if confidence falters among investors and companies.” The IMF forecasts global GDP to rise 3.1% this year, down from April’s 3.2% projection “and equal to growth in 2015,” according to the fund’s quarterly World Economic Outlook, released Tuesday. The forecast for next year was cut from 3.5% to 3.4%.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19) reports IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld “said the bank was prepared ‘as of June 22’ – the day before Britain’s vote – to slightly mark up its global forecast, citing unexpectedly strong growth in Europe and Japan and a partial rebound in global commodity prices.” However, “Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works,” he explained. The IMF added that the US and China, the world’s two largest economies, are unlikely to sustain much damage from the uncertainty in Europe.

ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19) adds that the report said, “The impact of Brexit is projected to be muted for the United States,” predicting the American economy will grow by 2.2% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2017. US News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19) reports US growth was revised down “0.2 percentage points for the year, due mostly to the country’s ‘weaker-than-expected growth in the first quarter.’”

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Talley, Subscription Publication) says the outlook sets the tone for the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in China this week. Brexit is likely to be a major topic, with officials focusing on “the near and long-term implications of the decision by voters in the U.K. to exit the EU,” a senior US Treasury official said Monday. “Continued uncertainty in the global outlook underscores the importance of all countries using all policy tools–monetary, fiscal and structural–in combination to boost growth,” the official said.

A separate Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Talley) article adds that the IMF warned Brexit could make the global outlook much worse, since an acrimonious and drawn-out negotiation between the UK and EU could add more uncertainty about the future of their relationship.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Mui), Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Lawder), and Bloomberg Business Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/20) also cover the story.

Industry News

Google Fiber Initiative Aims To Expand Into Nationwide Broadband Service.

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Guynn) reports that in the first quarter, Alphabet spent almost $280 million in Google Fiber capital expenses and reported losses of $802 million and revenues of $166 million. Yet, Google’s parent company has allowed Google Fiber to increase its presence in the US and eventually establish “a nationwide broadband network,” prompting other “industry players to step up their game.”

Survey Finds Cybersecurity Is Biggest Risk In Self-Driving Vehicle Industry.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Webb) reports a survey by Munich Re found that the biggest concern for companies considering self-driving vehicle technology is cybersecurity. The survey found that “55 percent of corporate risk managers surveyed named cybersecurity as their top concern about self-driving cars.”

Auto Manufacturers Battling Over Intellectual Property In China.

A 1,142-word article in the Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Bogage) examines whether Chinese companies can “continue to get away with ‘shanzhai’ – a Chinese term for prideful counterfeiting – of car designs.” The Post discusses how Chinese manufacturers are attempting to compete against Western automakers by “reverse engineering foreign products as a way to enter the market without overwhelming research expenditures.” Such actions in China and elsewhere have “multinational companies rushing to strategically secure their rights all over the world”; however, the Post highlights hurdles that companies without “strong market presence” within China face in protecting their intellectual property rights.

Engineering and Public Policy

White House Clean Energy Initiative Aims to Boost Low-income Solar.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Martin) reports that under the Clean Energy Savings For All initiative announced Tuesday, President Obama plans to increase installations of solar power for low-income households 10-fold to one gigawatt by 2020 with the efforts of six federal agencies including DOE and the Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs departments. “Solar panels are no longer for wealthy folks who live where the sun shines every day,” Obama said in a video announcement. “Today we’re offering even more families and communities to choose clean energy.”

US Expands WTO Challenge To China’s Metal Export Limits, EU Joins Challenge.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Walsh) reports the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced Tuesday that the US has expanded its challenge at the World Trade Organization to China’s export tariffs for certain metals and minerals important to manufacturing to include chromium. The USTR stated that materials “are key inputs into high-value U.S.-made products in vital industrial sectors, including aerospace, automotive, construction, and electronics. China’s export restraints on these materials, including duties and quotas, provide an unfair competitive advantage to China at the expense of American workers and manufacturers.” A separateReuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19) article reports that China’s Commerce Ministry has also received a request from the European Union “concerning the raw materials, such as copper, lead and tin.”

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Needham) reports that USTR Michael Froman and European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström “combined their cases at the World Trade Organization” challenging China’s “export restrictions on raw materials needed for manufacturing.” In a statement to reporters, Malmström said, “We hope this joint EU-U.S. trade action will motivate China to reconsider its current policy.”

Tech, Agriculture Employers Say Not Enough Americans Able To Fill Jobs.

Bloomberg Business Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Hunter) “QuickTake” provides an overview of the H-1B, H-2A, and “extraordinary ability” visa programs. QuickTake notes “it took less than a week for the U.S. government to exhaust the year’s 85,000 allotted petitions for H-1B visas” in the most recent accounting year. QuickTake goes on to discuss the history of “the U.S. system of immigration categories and caps,” and how “opposition to immigration tends to rise and fall with the state of the economy. In tough times, Americans desperate for work are none too happy to see businesses import laborers.” Nonetheless, “Employers in both the tech industry and agriculture say there are not enough Americans able to fill all the available jobs,” though opponents “say the companies are just trying to avoid paying higher wages to American workers.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Colorado Teachers Receive STEM Training At Air Force Academy Summer Camp.

The Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/19, Kelley) reports that “over 100 front range teachers have become the students at the STEM Boot Camp at the Air Force Academy,” a program spanning three days designed “to improve STEM teaching skills in southern Colorado K-12 educators.” According to the Gazette, “the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado in Colorado Springs organizes and produces the event, and the National Defense Education Program funds it.”

Tuesday’s Lead Stories

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