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IBM Technology Camp encourages next generation engineers and scientists

32 area girls participate in 14th annual event

Students learn to solder at a recent IBM Science and Technology Camp in Essex Junction.  PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Kloe Adams, left, and Michalyn Fagan, right, both from Milton, learned how to solder electrical circuits. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

With a goal of helping to foster a new generation of scientists and engineers, the recent IBM Science and Technology Camp in Essex Junction was a huge success. Participation included 32 seventh-grade girls from 10 area schools who spent the week at the IBM facility, learning to solder, build robots, try on cleanroom suits and even make ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

This local group joins tens of thousands of young people worldwide who have been encouraged by IBM to take part in these programs and to pursue careers in math, science and engineering.  The IBM Technology Camps were developed to encourage middle-schoolers to develop a keen interest in these pursuits as the number of jobs requiring a math and/or science background is increasing.

Camp participants were nominated by counselors and teachers at local middle schools that have an established relationship with IBM.  The program began 15 years ago with the first EX.I.T.E.

Students learn to build robots. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Sidney Lawrence, left, and Lily Wolf, right, both from Browns River Middle School, experiment with their Lego Robot. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Camp (EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering) and often includes counseling by IBM volunteers during the school year.

This year’s group was able to get hands-on experience with exciting technical work like programming computer animations for high-tech movies and designing smarter boats.  Feedback from the campers was positive.  Five former campers returned as junior counselors this year to extend their interest into high school.  They were joined by several IBM retirees who came back to pass on their passion to a younger generation.

With the rapid growth of cloud computing, the global adoption of mobile devices, and the ubiquitous presence of social media, this generation is surrounded by technology and that growth has increased the requirement for an ever-more highly-skilled workforce today and in the future.

Student observe liquid nitrogen and enjoy the ice cream they made with it. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Instructor Lindsey Sullivan, a chemical engineer at IBM, demonstrates the behavior of liquid nitrogen. The campers enjoy eating ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. Pictured from left to right: Natlie Treybal of Browns River, Sierra Burnell of Milton, Kathryn Schmidt of Milton, Eve Chamberland of Browns River, Gabrielle Hurst of Milton, Olivia Palmer of Browns River, Lily Wilson of Essex, Megan Rippie of Milton. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

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Spartan Race

Essex residents Arik Mortenson and Michael McCaffrey participated in a Spartan race in Amesbury, Mass. with friends and family on Aug. 9.  Pictured from left to right: Arik Mortenson, Meghan Groth, Betsy LeBlanc, Michael McCaffrey and Jennifer McCaffrey. Michael works for The Essex Reporter. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Essex residents Arik Mortenson and Michael McCaffrey participated in a Spartan race in Amesbury, Mass. with friends and family on Aug. 9. Pictured from left to right: Arik Mortenson, Meghan Groth, Betsy LeBlanc, Michael McCaffrey and Jennifer McCaffrey. Michael works for The Essex Reporter. | PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

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Agency of Human Services and DCF seek public’s comments

The Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty, in collaboration with the Agency of Human Services and the Department for Children and Families is seeking public comments on ways the Agency of Human Services can improve the delivery of services to families with children served by the Department for Children and Families.

There are three ways to provide your comments:

1. Attend a public hearing:

Hearings will be held on two dates: Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. and Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. You can attend at any of the 13 Vermont Interactive Television sites located around the state. For a complete list of VIT sites go to http://www.vitlink.org/location or call (802) 728-1455.

2. Mail your comments:

You can mail your comments to the following address through September 30, 2014: Agency of Human Services, Secretary, 208 Hurricane Lane, Suite 103, Williston, VT 05495.

3. Complete an online survey:

Complete the survey (anonymously if you wish) at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L3J2T56. The survey has the same key questions discussed below as well as space for additional comments.

Key questions to consider:

These questions are only intended to stimulate discussion. Feel free to raise your own questions and provide any suggestions.

How can DCF better serve Vermont families with children?

How can AHS and DCF avoid duplication of administrative functions and fragmentation of services for individuals and families?

Do AHS and DCF have the resources needed to be most effective? Are existing resources allocated properly? How could resources be better employed?

What is the most efficient use of state resources in serving families? For example, should divisions and/or functions be separate or integrated? How can communication within DCF be improved to better serve families?

How can DCF build stronger relationships between the families it serves and staff working with those families? For example, should enforcement capability be separated from day-to-day case management (that is, should sanction or removal powers be exercised by different people within the department)? Would that help or hinder the department?

Are there particular laws, rules, or policies that should be changed to improve outcomes for families? If so, what are they?

What is the agency or department doing well; are there existing areas of success the agency can and should build on?

The Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty is a 30-member advisory body. It is made up exclusively of volunteers, including advocates, direct service providers, housing and development experts and low-income Vermonters.
The Agency of Human Services includes several departments that work with low-income and vulnerable Vermonters including the Department for Children and Families.

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