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Thank you Joseph / StormC

Joseph Chaney :Programmer: Summer Intern, and Atlas’s Interloper

Our fellows will be thrilled to discover a new set of tutorials as they write their scripts and craft their missions! Thank you to Job Training of Beaver County for again providing us a capable, hardworking, and creative intern!

I cannot tell you how exciting it is for us to get an intern or two for the summer. It helps focus our efforts on the many fellows who are working on projects, and, accept even more fellows into various fellowships.

Joseph did a wonderful job in many different aspects of the company. He helped make the tutorials, but also worked on the websites. He polished a few of the graphics from last year and provided great entertainment in our daily online meetings.

From Joseph, “I did so many things within this internship, from video editing, to website work, to graphic design.  I am quite proud of how much I believe I excelled in all those areas, and especially how my assigned projects ended up turning out once finished.  However, I think I am most proud of how I accomplished all the given tasks, as many of them I was not entirely familiar with when they were assigned to me.  I had to do extra work to sort my way through many tasks, learning interfaces, trying new things, testing dead-ends, until things were finally how I wanted them to be.  That is what I would say I am most proud of, the work I did to figure out the things I was unfamiliar with, and all the new skills I gained as a result.

This is not the first time Joseph has worked for us. Six years ago, as a young middle school student, Storm C helped make several of the Scratch Tutorials for our student projects (That is Animorph Girl in the photo).

Thank you Beaver County Job Training and Joseph for the hard work!

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Seeking New Hires and New Fellows!

Exciting things are happening at Grow a Generation! We are currently looking for a new collaborative project leader to work part-time online helping students pursue meaningful projects with mentors around the globe.

What are the qualities we’re looking for? An entrepreneurial spirit. Curiosity. The ability to learn new technology quickly. Courage (and a bit of a competitive spirit) to work beside students that may know more than you do. Someone who values education! Check out the job description and application instructions at

We are also looking for new 6th through 12th-grade fellows at are STEM Leadership Center. In particular, we have an exciting opportunity with the Heroes of Math Program. The leaders of the fellowship are looking to start an online Math club. The club would include some dives into the history of mathematics, fun theorems, and proofs, but also tutoring. Some area professors are willing to spend some of their time tutoring kids in algebra, Trig, and Calculus. Email your nomination for a fellowship!

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Let’s Do Some Engineering!!

Only 9 days left to enter

The “Next Moon Step” is a summer challenge leading up to an Artemis essay contest this fall, and we’re excited to start some out-of-this-world brainstorming now! When Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the Moon in 1969, he famously said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Now over 50 years later, NASA’s Artemis program will return astronauts to the Moon. We want to hear what it means to you!

Your challenge is to create an image of your footprint (photo or artwork) and tell us what you would say, in 20 words or less, if you were the next person to step foot on the Moon.

Here’s some exciting information about the Artemis program, but the EDUCATION RESOURCES section has even more information about lunar exploration. NASA’s Artemis program has the bold challenge of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by 2024. Working with its industry and international partners, NASA will fine-tune precision landing technologies and develop new mobility capabilities that allow robots and crew to travel greater distances and explore new regions of the Moon. On the Moon’s surface, NASA has proposed building a new Artemis Base Camp with habitat and rovers, to test new power systems and more to prepare for future human exploration of Mars.

Only 14 days left to enter

Are you ready to think like a NASA engineer? We want you to reinvent the wheel – literally! Use your creativity to come up with a rover wheel design that you think would best explore Mars. Create a digital 3D model of your reinvented wheel and submit your design along with an image of the 3D model and short description of your entry. While digital 3D models are encouraged, young inventors in Grades K-5 can opt to provide an image of a sketch or mockup instead of a 3D model.

NASA’s Perseverance rover has six wheels made of aluminum designed to drive across sandy, rocky, and hilly Martian terrain. The new and improved tire treads, or grousers, were designed by NASA-JPL engineers to be a series of slightly S-curved lines. This approach builds on the lessons learned from NASA’s previous rovers – Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. Spirit for example, got stuck in a sandy area. Curiosity’s wheels are still going strong, but are starting to show wear and tear. And this is just Mars! NASA Glenn engineers are looking back to lessons learned from exploring the moon to design new metal spring tires made with a shape memory alloy, and NASA has previously developed prototype rovers like the ATHLETE rover with multi-function wheels.

There is much more Mars exploration to come – from returning Mars samples to Earth and looking onward to sending astronauts. There is no doubt many more rovers headed for the red planet, so we want to know your creative ideas for traversing across Mars! Visit the web site to enter.

Let me know if you need help. You can register using our Baden Academy Future Engineers class code if you wish. I’d love to see what you make!

Class Code: X5RF47 

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Facial Recognition and The Faces Project

Did you know that you may be helping train artificially intelligent ‪facial recognition algorithms? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That is one of the questions being asked by The Faces Project, a group of rising 5th graders at Baden Academy.

Facial recognition has been in the news a lot lately (well, maybe the news that comes to my inbox!)…

Taylor Hatmaker at Techcrunch reported an open letter from AI researchers condemning police software that uses facial recognition to predict crime. The letter, signed by researchers at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, opposes the #TechToPrisonPipeline and points out the use of statistics gleaned from our criminal justice past cannot be untangled from biases and injustice. They claim that data generated by the criminal justice system cannot be used to “identify criminals” or predict criminal behavior. Ever.

Jon Porter at The Verge reported the formal complaint filed by the ACLU against Detroit police over what it says is the “first known example of a wrongful arrest caused by faulty facial recognition technology.” Facial recognition falsely accused and arrested an African American man after a facial recognition system falsely matched his photo with security footage of a shoplifter. Using software to predict criminality or match facial profiles of criminals (particularly African Americans) has been repeatedly debunked and labeled socially harmful.

But not every use of facial recognition by law enforcement is wrong. The software is being used to save lives. Our Faces Project recently stumbled on the local Pittsburgh company, Marinus Project. Check out their video!

The Faces Project is Rooting for the Marinus Analytics!

The Faces Project is exploring how the human face communicates emotions like anger, fear, happiness, and worry in drawings, animations, robotics, and anatomy. We are trying to understand how the human face communicates emotion, why it’s universally recognizable, and the efforts to capture it in film and images, animation, and animatronics.

You can check out their website at include their videos that look at the videos on recognized fear, happiness, disgust, as well as robotics and graphic design.

One of their primary goals is to help you, to help all their classmates, grow more aware of how you are directly and indirectly interacting with faces on the screen. Have you been helping artificial intelligence algorithms grow in their abilities to recognize faces by tagging photos? Recognizing a face is integral to being human. Computer technology is attempting to learn this skill and, simultaneously, using what it has learned to affect our interaction with it.

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Looking for Beta Testers!

Our Endangered Game Fellowship team needs your help. Can you beta test their game and add your comments to improve it? The game requires a printer, scissors, and about an hour in a fun, engaged race to save the endangered animals of Pennsylvania. Download it today to play with kids or grandkids.

Press the Download Beta Test Button and Print out the Game Elements, Cut them apart, play the game, then leave your comments and ideas at

Thank you!!!

Game Design is a $138 billion dollar industry. Does your child have a game design idea and want to work with mentors and a team to bring it to reality? Visit our STEM Leadership Center for ways to get started.

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Finding Hope in Rare Earth Fellows

Arion Heaggans trying to cook Scandium in his new Rare Earth video

When Baden Academy went online, our eighty-five fellows at the school needed to find a way to collaborate online and continue to work on their 30 plus projects. While I cannot ignore the digital divide, overwhelmed parents, massive injustices, and anxiety blossoms, I am energized and excited by the kids and families who were able to rise above and focus on what creating some amazing things.

Check out Arion’s video on Scandium. He is one of the Rare Earth Elements Fellowship team.

The Rare Earth Elements team researches rare earth elements, interviews experts, and make videos about these mineral resources.  They want to raise awareness about these seventeen elements on the periodic table, several of which are critical to industries in the United States. These elements remain in the news of global trade agreements, green technology, environmental justice, workers’ rights, and material science. Check out their first video.

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and protests for racial justice, parents are making space in their homes for children to continue down their paths of scientific inquiry and we have the treat of learning about Scandium. For me, for my staff, we have seen these times to include extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen.  Thank you Rare Earth Team.

If your child is excited to learn about Rare Earth Elements, here is a list of some summertime activities they can do.

  • Create a film where you are a detective searching for rare earth elements in the various tech in your home and community.

If your child wants to pursue a meaningful project in science, technology, or engineering, you are welcome to contact us about fellowships.

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Being Heard: An Online Communications Workshop

Into Words Being Heard 101 is a virtual event that will meet Monday, July 6, 2020, at 9:00 am and continues until 12:00 pm. The day showcases an interactive session with Patty Paggna from the Into Words Communications Fellowship at the STEM Leadership Center.

Please fill out as much information as you can to help us make this an amazing experience for you!

Saturday, July 6, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Grades: 6th to 9th grade
International Students Welcome
Limited to 10 students.

The registration cost is $30. Register by going to

Our Website:

Into Words is an Odyssey Fellowship at the STEM Leadership Center. Mentors from the Center will be on hand for the workshop to assist participants and Patty as needed. Our website and contact information are Dr. Ellen Cavanaugh 724-266-1498 drellen “at”

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Unlocking the Secrets of EOE Book Launch

Even without a Facebook Account, you can login to help support these amazing kids and researchers on the front line of Eosinophilic research.

A Virtual Book Launch will be held:
Thursday, May 21, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM EST

Join in to meet the authors, win prizes that include Amazon gift cards, a 3D printed Eosinophil Warrior, and a free copy of their book. Special guest, Dr. Marc Rothenberg, will also be on hand to answer your questions!

Unlocking the Secrets of Eosinophilic Esophagitis is a new children’s book authored by student and faculty fellows at PA Distance Learning charter school.

John lives with EOE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis). He has burning pain in his throat for an hour or two after he eats specific foods. It hurts very badly, and John finds a new food every day that causes his throat problems. John and his friends went on a quest to find out what current researchers have discovered and wrote a book about their adventure.

John, Kaitlyn and Andrew joined together with classmates and experts like Dr. Marc Rothenberg to craft this brave adventure and bring to light the real-world scientific progress that is being made. Join the team on their quest to unlock the secrets of EoE. Purchase your copy at . All proceeds go toward Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the continuing efforts of Dr. Rothenberg to seek a cure for EOE.

To purchase the book, please visit

Watch the trailer to get excited, then join us Thursday, May 21, for the launch!!

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Space, Incredulity, and 2 Kids’ Passion

Space is now a 360 billion dollar industry worldwide.  Three-quarters of that 360 billion is spent by private industry.  And that industry, particularly in America, has a hiring problem. Students that are ‘interested’ in the space industry are ready to pursue limited and coveted positions at NASA, but unaware of a massive commercial industry that exists and is in need of new hires. Inspiring a future generation to dream of and work in space exploration is a challenge worth undertaking

I work with young students and I grow more discouraged every year with how few are actually ‘interested’ in space.  Two of my space enthusiasts just finish a two-year project writing a book about the Huygen’s mission.  It’s a great little children’s book, one that takes you on the eight-year journey Huygens took aboard the Cassini spacecraft to get to Saturn and some of the amazing discoveries it made when it landed on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.  Some of the classmates (and a few adults) thought the book was fiction. It’s not.  We really do have a robotic outpost on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.  

“If we had landed a robot on the surface of Titan, it should have been in the news!” 

spoken by an incredulous area education leader

There appears to be no remembered coverage of this historic event from local papers, no adults who watch the evening network news with a memory, and still a handful of people in our Western Pennsylvania county who believe even the moon landing was a hoax. 

In the sixty years since we first went to space, we’ve developed satellite phones, tv, and radio, we have GPS in our pockets and our autonomous cars, weather satellites that save missions with real-time data on weather and war.  We’ve been living in space aboard the ISS for 20 years.  Since we walked on the moon, 135 spacecraft have traveled to barely scratch the surface of what exists in our solar system.  

And now we have our eyes set on traveling back to the moon; developing it into a refueling station for spacecraft to Mars and beyond, a source for rare earth metals,  a manufacturing site that takes advantage of one-sixth gravity and minimal atmosphere, and the possibility to build subterranean habitats.  Thanks to many at NASA, Congress, the White House, and industry, we are returning to the moon. References to the Artemis mission and the Orion spacecraft fill my news feed.  But I like space and love space exploration. I get news of space and space exploration.  References to the Artemis Mission and Orion spacecraft are unheard of by many of my fellow educators and parents.  We live nowhere near rocket launches.

A local Pittsburgh company, Astrobotic, is part of our mission to return to the moon. They have recently been awarded 79.5 million dollars to deliver 14 payloads to the Moon on its Peregrine lunar lander in July 2021.  If you check out their website, you’ll see at least ten job openings.  

Let’s fuel the future.  Inspire a kid you know to fall in love with space.  Get them a copy of Huygens: Earth’s Farthest Robotic Outpost. Visit #NASAatHome for ideas during the quarantine including free e-books, citizen science projects, podcasts, videos, and virtual tours. When we’re freed from social distancing. book a trip to watch a rocket launch or schedule a week for a child at Space Camp.

Grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the two kids read aloud their book. 

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Conservation Fellowships Amid Social Distancing

A number of the fellowships we work with are focused on the environment.

Our Baden Academy Fun Guys are dedicated to educating others about the benefits of composting, whether at home or school, and digging deep into composting research include mycelium (fungi) and worms. Our Baden Academy Plastic Pollution Police want to stop plastic pollution by tackling small victories locally and speaking up for big changes in the world. ​Our Pa Distance Life on a Wall Fellowship is dedicated to exploring the science, engineering, and artistic integration of natural environments into modern solutions to today’s problems. Each of the groups has made the transition to working online and in new independent ways to not only continue their fellowships but make them thrive.

The Fun Guys were prepared to lead their 3rd grade classmates on the waste inventory to begin a post-consumer compost program at the school when the doors shut. That hasn’t stopped them. They work collaboratively online to complete the video they began (hoping to pick up next year). They also began to make some amazing short films about how to compost at home. They inspired me to try composting and it is quite a science experiment as my husband and I choose the best techniques which will work at our home.

The Plastic Pollution Police have decided to focus on single-use plastic water bottles. Once again, I have found working with these amazing kids makes me revisit how I do things at home and become more conscious of my habits.

The Pa Distance Life on a Wall fellows also experienced some pivots and challenges even though they were already a cyber school group. Schedules changed in their homes, with their teachers, and with the mentors, they were working with. The tour to Phipps Conservatory they were planning to host was canceled. Creativity and problem solving persevered and they were able to complete their interviews with Dr. Jeffrey Skouson about the use of plants to remove the contaminants of acid mine drainage from the soil, with Officer Shuster with the PA Game Commission about his fascinating work in our local environments, and even produce a virtual tour of Phipps.

Click to read the whole article

If you know a student passionate about the environment seeking to go deeper with mentors and projects, consider applying for a fellowship at the STEM Leadership Center or as a student at Baden Academy or PA Distance Learning.

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