23
October , 2018
Tuesday

Life skills program to curb violence By Chinta Strausberg The ARK of Saint Sabina in collaboration with ...
CHICAGO, IL – By popular demand, Steppenwolf Theatre Company adds an additional performance to the subversively ...
Letters to Editors Why is the Senate blocking judicial nominees? Tell Senate Republicans: "There are 59 vacancies in ...
M Many of you have seen the inspiring viral posting of ...
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that the County will receive nearly $26.5 million ...
WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle ...
Robert Falls directs Edward Gero and Patrick Andrews in this Chicago Premiere   Chicago, IL – Goodman ...
  By Kimberly N. Alleyne  America's Wire Staff   WASHINGTON, D.C. - Concerned about the plight of African-American ...
CHICAGO, IL –On the heels of President Obama’s executive order on immigration, mRelief, an app ...
  Oakland, CA (BlackNews.com) -- Dozens of college bound black male youth and nearly 250 community ...

Archive for March 23rd, 2015

Illinois School Finances Continue to Show Impact of Economic Downturn and Fewer State Education Dollars

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

ISBE analysis shows 64 percent of school districts expected to deficit spend


SPRINGFIELD, IL —Illinois school district finances continue to show the strain of operating with fewer funds from federal, state and local sources, according to an annual statewide review of financial data by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The number of districts earning ISBE’s top financial rating dropped again this year while those districts that are projected to deficit spend this school year increased to 550 (or 64.2 percent) of all districts.

Many of these districts have already made significant cuts; they have reduced staff, delayed building repairs and upgrades, and eliminated academic and extracurricular programs with little financial relief in turn.

“Our Financial Profile data shows that while our schools continue to cut costs and stretch shrinking financial resources, many still must borrow or dip into their reserves in order to stay in the black,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “There also appears to be a direct correlation between the decrease in state funding and the declining number of districts in Financial Recognition. Our Board will continue to advocate for more state education funding through the spring so schools can start a new fiscal year on July 1 with more resources and support for the needs of all students.”

The Board has asked for an additional $729.9 million in education funding from the current year to fully fund General State Aid, which has been prorated for the last four years. When adjusted for inflation, the proposed fiscal year 2016 budget amount is still 5.2 percent less than the FY 2009 general fund appropriation level.

The 2015 Financial Profile is based upon FY 2014 data received from school districts and provides a snapshot in time that helps ISBE gauge school districts’ financial health. The profile’s designation categories and FY 2015 and FY 14 statistics are:

Designation Score Definition FY 15 # of Districts FY 14 # of Districts
Financial Recognition 4.00 – 3.54 The highest category of financial strength. Districts require little or no review or involvement by ISBE. 553 560
Financial Review 3.53 – 3.08 Districts receive a limited review by ISBE but will be monitored for potential downward trends. 199 181
Early Warning 3.07 – 2.62 ISBE monitors these districts closely and offers proactive technical assistance. ISBE also determines whether they meet the criteria set forth in Article 1A-8 of the School Code to be certified in financial difficulty and possibly qualify for a Financial Oversight Panel (FOP). 70 72
Financial Watch 2.61 – 1.00 ISBE monitors these districts very closely and offers them technical assistance. Districts are also reviewed to determine whether they meet the legal criteria to be certified in financial difficulty and qualify for a FOP. 38 49

The 2015 Financial Profile data shows seven fewer districts earned Financial Recognition this year than in 2014. Overall, districts’ Financial Profile scores are shifting toward the mid-range of Financial Review and Financial Early Warning.

The City of Chicago School District 299’s financial score declined this year, landing the state’s largest district in the lowest designation of Financial Watch for the first time in the state’s 12-year history of providing this analysis. As of June 30, 2014, the district has been deficit spending for the last two fiscal years and had only eight days’ cash on hand. If this trend continues without additional revenue or reduced expenditures, Chicago is projected to have a negative fund balance for its operational fund in FY 2015, with a deficit of $862.3 million.

ISBE will continue to review and monitor CPS and the other 37 districts on the 2015 Financial Watch list. The state education agency may recommend potential intervention as needed, such as financial projections, cash flow analysis, budgeting, personnel inventories and enrollment projections. Those districts listed on the Financial Watch list serve 22 percent of the public school children in Illinois.

This year’s Financial Profiles also show that more districts are continuing to decrease spending and take on debt to keep up their fund balances and operations. In FY 2014, districts issued $356.5 million in new debt in the operating funds. This amount is $72 million (or 25.3 percent) more than the $284.5 million in new debt that was issued during FY 2013. Additionally, information submitted by school districts for FY 2015 forecasts that the number of districts with deficits will increase to 550 (or 64.2 percent) of all districts, compared to 364 (or 42.4 percent) of districts in FY 2014.

“Multiple years of financial hardship have left school districts struggling to trim already lean budgets without affecting regular classroom instruction,” said Dr. Michael Jacoby, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials. “This struggle has forced many districts to tap into their reserves or long-term borrow just to provide basic resources and services to students. Valuable academic enrichment, specialized instruction and extracurricular opportunities are no longer affordable, preventing schools from helping students reach their full potential.”

A district is categorized for the Financial Profile based on its Annual Financial Report from FY 2014, which ended June 30. The rating is created by using five indicators of performance:

Fund Balance to Revenue Ratio

Expenditure to Revenue Ratio

Days’ Cash on Hand

Percent of Short-Term Borrowing Ability Remaining

Percent of Long-Term Borrowing Ability Remaining

The Financial Profile alone does not provide a complete picture of a district’s financial condition, but it provides a valuable tool for ISBE staff to use with other data and information to assess an individual district’s financial status.

From 2004 to 2009, the number of districts in Financial Recognition status on the Financial Profile increased each year. In 2010, the number of districts in Financial Recognition decreased due to the beginning of the economic downturn. For the 2011 and 2012 Financial Profiles, the number of districts in Financial Recognition increased again as a result of the infusion of revenue from the federal stimulus funds, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). For 2013-15, the number of districts in Financial Recognition has steadily declined, due in part to the proration of General State Aid.

Of the 49 districts that were on the Financial Watch list in 2014:

·         Four have improved to Financial Recognition

·         Nine improved to Financial Review

·         Fourteen improved to Early Warning

·         Twenty-one remained as Financial Watch

·         One district reorganized into another district

The 2015 Financial Profile for all districts in Illinois will be available through ISBE’s School Business Services page in alphabetical order, by count or Financial Profile designation at www.isbe.net/sfms/P/profile.htm.

Madigan to Host Summit on Campus Sexual Violence, Announce Legislation to Strengthen Schools’ Response to Incidents

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will host a summit today with over 200 advocates and survivors to address campus sexual violence, in conjunction with announcing legislation to strengthen Illinois colleges and universities’ responsiveness to incidents of sexual assault. The bill seeks to ensure a safe environment for students and institute a timely process to respond to and investigate allegations of sexual violence.

Joining Madigan in speaking at the summit will be Julia Dixon, a survivor of campus sexual assault while at the University of Akron and an ambassador for PAVE, Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment. Other participants include representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, university officials, rape victim advocates and law enforcement agencies.

Note: Dixon will serve as the key note speaker.

WHEN:  Event begins at 9:30 a.m., Monday, March 23, 2015. AG Madigan will speak first, followed by Julia Dixon’s formal remarks.

WHERE: University of Illinois at Chicago

Student Center East

Illinois Room A-B, Level 3

750 S. Halsted St.

Chicago, Ill.

In his Weekly Address, President Obama Pushes for Confirmation of Loretta Lynch

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address: It’s Time To Confirm Loretta Lynch

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President called on Republicans in Congress to stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security and confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.  Loretta is an independent, career prosecutor who deserves to be confirmed as soon as possible.  She has proven herself time and again throughout her 30-year career, yet come Monday, the amount of time her nomination will have languished on the floor of the Senate will total more than that of the past seven Attorney General nominees combined.  In his address the President asked Republicans in Congress to stop denying a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch and end the longest confirmation process for an Attorney General in three decades.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, March 21, 2015.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 21, 2015

Hi, everybody.  One of the most important positions in the President’s Cabinet – and to our national security, our law enforcement, and our criminal justice system – is Attorney General.

It has been more than four months since I nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States.  For 30 years, Loretta has distinguished herself as a tough, fair, and independent attorney.  As the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York City subway.  She helped secure billions in settlements for people wronged by some of the world’s biggest banks.  She’s been dogged in her pursuit of public corruption.  She’s jailed some of New York’s most violent and notorious mobsters and gang members.  And through it all, she’s worked closely with law enforcement and local communities to get the job done.

In short, her qualifications are superb.  That’s why, in the past, the Senate easily confirmed Loretta to lead one of the most prominent U.S. Attorney offices in the country – not once, but twice.

Still – it has been more than four months since I nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as Attorney General.

And this time, Republican leaders in Congress won’t even let her nomination come up for a vote.  In fact, by Monday, Loretta will have been languishing on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous Attorneys General combined.  Let me say that again – she will have been waiting for a simple yes-or-no vote on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous Attorneys General combined.

No one can claim she’s unqualified.  No one’s saying she can’t do the job.  Senators from both parties say they support her.  This is purely about politics.  First, Republicans held up her nomination because they were upset about the actions I took to make our broken immigration system smarter and fairer.  Now they’re denying her a vote until they can figure out how to pass a bill on a completely unrelated issue.  But they could bring her up for a yes-or-no vote at any time.

Republicans promised that Congress would function smoothly with them in charge.  Here’s a chance for them to prove it.  Congress should stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security.  They should support good people in both parties who want to reform our criminal justice system.  And that means they should end the longest confirmation process for an Attorney General in three decades, and give Loretta Lynch a vote.

Thank you.  And have a great weekend.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Joined President Obama, Rep. John Lewis and Others in Selma, Alabama in Honor of the Voting Rights Act

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Earlier this month, Rep. Jan Schakowsky joined President Obama, civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, and many others in Selma, Alabama, to honor the Voting Rights Act and the brave individuals who fought and sacrificed to expand civil rights in our country.
Rep. John Lewis said:
“My beloved brothers and sisters, it is a great honor for me to return to my home state of Alabama to present to you, not to introduce to you, but to present to you the President of the United States.  If someone had told me when we were crossing this bridge, that one day I would be back here introducing the first African-American President I would have said you were crazy.”
Don’t forget the incredible progress that we, as a nation, have made.
More importantly, don’t forget about all the work still in front of us.

Where are the Best Communities for Music Education in the USA?

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

NAMM Foundation and National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation Recognize 388 School Districts and 120 Individual Schools with 2015 Best Community Designation

Music Education Grows in Importance as New Research Shows Music Programs Help to Close the Opportunity Gap for African Americans, Underserved Populations

NAMM Foundation and University of Kansas Recognize 388 School Districts and 120 Individual Schools with 2015 Best Community Designation

“Vital Link between the Do-Rei-Me and ABCs”

CARLSBAD, Calif. The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognized 388 school districts in 46 states as among the Best Communities for Music Education. In its 16th year, the program singles out districts for outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. In addition to the 388 districts receiving Best Communities for Music Education recognition, 120 individual schools across the nation are being awarded the Support Music Merit Award (SMMA), which recognizes support for school-based music education programs

The BCME and SMMA designations take on added significance this year with new research showing strong ties between music education and overall student success . Both recognitions included schools and school districts in minority communities including Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School in the District of Columbia.

Still, not all of the nation’s 13,588 school districts are in harmony when it comes to promoting the arts and music education. According to the White House’s Turnaround Arts program, for example, 1.3 million elementary school students still have no access to music classes. The situation is particularly critical in African-American communities which are critically underserved when it comes to music education opportunities, despite, the new body of evidence, released at the start of the school year by Northwestern University brain researcher Dr. Nina Kraus, shows that participation in music education programs helps improve brain function and sparks language development.

The President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities’ Turnaround Arts program released a report this year that provides additional findings related to student success and music/arts education.

“The new research validates the relationships between student success and access to music education,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation. “Ensuring that every child has access to music in schools requires commitment by students, teachers, and those who determine school budgets. We commend the districts and schools that have earned the Best Community designation this year. They join with so many that believe, as we do, that there is a vital link between do-rei-me and the ABCs.”

The BCME program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction. Researchers at the Center for Public Partnerships & Research at The University of Kansas led the data review.

In past years a BCME designation has helped raise local awareness of quality music programs from coast to coast. Earning the designation has assisted communities in securing funds for music programs threatened by budget cuts, and acts as a source of community pride. News of past winners being recognized nationally often leads to local media coverage, community recognition and even billboards trumpeting the local school music programs.

A complete list of districts and schools receiving Best Community and SupportMusic designations from the NAMM Foundation in 2015 can be found at: http://www.nammfoundation.org/what-we-do/best-communities-music-education.

About NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 9200 members around the world. The NAMM Foundation works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Department of Juvenile Justice Unveils Its Strategic Operating Plan for 2015

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Governor Rauner attends in support of the Department

CHICAGO, IL – Governor Bruce Rauner joined the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) Candice Jones at an event to unveil the Department’s operational plan to reduce recidivism of juvenile offenders. Also in attendance:

Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul, 13th District;

Illinois State Representative, Elaine Nekritz, 57th District;

Illinois State Representative, Will Guzzardi, 39th District;

Paula Wolff, Director of the Illinois Justice Project;

Adam Gross, Housing Director at Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI); and

Ryan Shanahan, Research Director & Chansi Powell, Senior Program Associate from the Vera Institute of Justice

The event also included members of the IDJJ Executive Team who discussed the various initiatives outlined in the plan and their implementation. The IDJJ Executive Team members addressing the plan:

Heidi Mueller – Deputy Director of Programs

Eva Moore – Deputy Director of Aftercare

Jesse Montgomery – Deputy Director of Operations

Governor Rauner acknowledged, “This is a challenge; we will face it together,” speaking of the need to reestablish Illinois as a champion for juvenile justice. He recalled Illinois’ place in the history of juvenile justice. “Illinois had the first juvenile court in the country, recognizing the differences between youth and adults nearly 100 years ahead of the United States Supreme Court, and I want to see this state become a leader on this issue once again,” said Governor Rauner.

The governor’s appearance today at the unveiling of the Department’s operational plan comes just one day after his visit to the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles where he toured the facility and met with staff and youth.

Director Jones is thankful to the Governor for his support of the IDJJ in taking the time both yesterday and today to show his commitment to improving the juvenile justice system in Illinois.

This Operating Plan is the result of a six-month strategic planning initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and it focuses on implementing a range of national best practices and evidence-based programs in Illinois’ juvenile justice facilities. The presentation of the operational plan focused on five core priorities:

Right-Size: Reduce the use of secure custody for low risk youth

Rehabilitate: Improve programs to meet the needs of high-risk youth

Reintegrate: Improve programs to ensure successful reentry

Respect: Create a safe and respectful environment for youth and staff

Report: Increase transparency and accountability

“This plan establishes a concrete action agenda that will advance the Department on a clear path to protecting public safety,” said Director Jones. “We are pleased to work with the Governor and legislators like Senator Raoul and Representative Nekritz to see this plan fully realized in our juvenile justice system.”

Lanetta Haynes Turner, Executive Director of the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, attended the presentation in a show of support for the Department’s plan from her office and the office of Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle. “President Preckwinkle supports the Department of Juvenile Justice’s policy agenda and their work to reform the juvenile justice system in Illinois. We are working hand in hand with them to ‘right-size’ the system through their current legislative package (SB 1560) and our partnership with Representative Nekritz on HB 172 to end the automatic transfer of children to adult court,” said Ms. Turner.

“I am encouraged by the level of support we are seeing from the Governor, from legislators and our partners across the state. It is my sincere hope that the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice will transform the juvenile justice system in Illinois into one that will serve as a model for states,” said Director Jones.

The Department of Juvenile Justice will report progress of this operating plan midway through the year and on a continuing basis thereafter.

A copy of the IDJJ 2015 Operating Plan Summary is available at www.illinois.gov/idjj.

President Obama Hosts 5th White House Science Fair

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama will host the 2015 White House Science Fair and celebrate the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country.

As part of the Fair, President Obama will announce over $240 million in new private sector commitments to get more girls and boys, especially those that are under-represented, inspired, and prepared to excel in the STEM fields. With the commitments being made today, the President’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign has resulted in over $1 billion in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs.

Additional details on the White House Science Fair

Senior Administration officials and leading STEM communicators, advocates, and educators will also attend the White House Science Fair and meet the students. Attendees include:

Senior Administration Officials
Charles F. Bolden, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President
Suzette Kimball, Acting Director, U.S. Geological Survey
Michelle Lee, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)
Willie May, Acting Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer

Leading STEM and Media Communicators
Victor Cruz, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Mariette DiChristina, Editor in Chief of Scientific American
Jim Gates, Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
Rush Holt, Retired U.S. Congressman, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Dean Kamen, Entrepreneur, Founder of FIRST
Mary Mazzio, Award-winning Director and Producer of the Documentary “Underwater Dreams”
Leland Melvin, NASA Astronaut, National Football League (NFL) Alum, Media Personality
Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Executive Director and Co-Founder of 100Kin10
Dan Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering
Bill Nye, Bill Nye the Science Guy
Saul Perlmutter, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics
Cierra Ramirez, Actress, Singer, Star in ABC Family’s The Fosters
Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation
Robert Tjian, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Oscar Vazquez, Dreamer, Veteran, Star of the Documentary “Underwater Dreams”

Exhibits at the White House Science Fair Include: (More information can be found here.)

Teen uses Tech to Tackle Cyber-bullying (Trisha Prabhu, 14, Naperville, Illinois). Illinois teen Trisha Prabhu learned about research showing that the human brain’s decision-making region is not fully developed until age 25 and got inspired to help teens rethink how they treat others. She developed a computer program called “Rethink” that alerts users when an outgoing message contains language that is potentially abusive and hurtful. Preliminary analysis showed that adolescents who use “Rethink” system are 93% less likely to send abusive messages than those who are not warned about the consequences of their actions prior to sending a message. Trisha earned a spot in the 2014 Google Science Fair to showcase her innovative project.

Scoliosis Patient Designs Implant to help Kids avoid Spinal Surgeries (Harry Paul, 18, Port Washington, NY). 18-year-old Harry Paul was born with congenital scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that, when congenital, restricts the size of the thorax preventing the heart and lungs from developing. Growing up, Harry endured more than a dozen spinal surgeries to help correct the problem. Now, he’s working to help other young people with scoliosis avoid the burdensome operations that can get in the way of living life. He designed a new type of spinal implant that expands over time, helping developing spines stay straighter as they grow, and lengthening the time young patients can go between surgeries. Harry’s implant could potentially help lower the number of risky procedures needed from over a dozen to less than five over the course of child’s surgical treatment. His design earned him numerous awards, including the Grand Awards of First Place, Best in Category (Bioengineering), and the Innovation Exploration Award at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Solar-Heating System Brings Warmth to Communities off the Grid (Kelly Charley, 15, Farmington, NM). Kelly Charley, 15, noticed that communities lacking electricity often build fires to stay warm, but that particles and ash from wood-burning fireplaces can be dangerous to breathe. She developed a solar-powered radiation system that circulates air and heats the interior of buildings. It can run without access to electricity or running water. Kelly, a sophomore at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, New Mexico, received a United National Indian Tribal Youth 25 under 25 Youth Leadership Award for her work to promote spiritual, mental, physical, and social well-being. Her heater design made her a finalist at the 2014 International Science and Engineering Fair.

Kid Inventor Designs Wearable Monitor for Grandfather with Alzheimer’s (Kenneth Shinozuka, 16
New York, NY
). More than half of the 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer’s wander, which can lead to injury or death. Kenneth Shinozuka became acutely aware of this problem while caring for his grandfather, who was afflicted with the disease. Kenneth developed a sensor device that can detect when a wanderer stands up, apply pressure on his or her foot, and send an alert to the caregiver’s smartphone via Bluetooth. During six months of use, the device detected every instance when Kenneth’s grandfather got out of bed at night, without any false positives, ensuring his whereabouts were always known. Kenneth’s device won the Science in Action award at the 2014 Google Science fair.

Truly Flashy Fashion Accessories Use Tech to make Exercise Look Good (Maureen Botros, 15, Wichita, KS). Maureen Botros wants to make physical activity not just feel good, but also look good. Her invention, Illumi-cize, uses a pulse meter to measure heart rate and sends that information to a battery-powered computer chip. The chip is programmed to illuminate light-up accessories based on the intensity of a person’s physical activity. The wearable device includes a SD card that collects and stores the data gathered during a workout, which can be analyzed and tracked by the user. For those with more conservative styles, Maureen developed a less flashy wristband that can be programmed to shine red, yellow, or green to signal whether and how much person’s heart rate is elevated beyond its normal resting range. The invention took the top prize at the Kansas Junior Academy of Science competition and will be presented at the upcoming joint national meeting of the American Junior Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Girl Scouts Build Page-Turning Device out of Legos for Readers with Arthritis (Emily Bergenroth, Alicia Cutter, Karissa Cheng, Addy Oneal, and Emery Dodson, all age 6, Tulsa, OK). After chatting with their school librarian, the “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team from Daisy Girl Scouts’ troop 411 discovered that some people have disabilities that make it difficult to turn the pages of a book. They came up with the concept of a battery-powered page turner that could turn pages for people who are paralyzed or have arthritis. The Supergirls sketched out a design concept and culled through motorized Lego components and gears to figure out how to build a working prototype. They discovered that the friction from rubber Lego tires could be used to lift and turn the pages of a book. They honed the device with a second motorized component that forces pages to lay flat after being turned over. The Supergirls’ creation was selected by the statewide FIRST program director to be the only project exhibited at an educational conference for librarians and educators in the region.

With Novel Battery, Pittsburgh Teen Turns Pollution into Power (Sahil Doshi, 14, Pittsburgh, PA). Inspired by the global energy crisis and the lack of electricity around the world, Pittsburgh ninth-grader Sahil Doshi designed an innovative carbon-dioxide powered battery called PolluCell. Comprised of multiple electrochemical cells wired in parallel circuits, PolluCell harnesses the power of carbon dioxide and waste materials to generate electricity, reducing the environmental effects of pollution. The battery earned him $25,000 and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist at the 2014 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Sahil’s invention has been featured in national press outlets on TV, in print, and online.

Quad-Lingual Kid-Team Creates Sustainable City of the Future (Jose Valdez III, 12, Casandra D. Dauz, 11, Jaleena Rolon, 11, Española, NM). Jose Valdez, Casandra Dauz, and Jaleena Rolon are a team of elementary school students who competed in last year’s Future City Regional Competition, which challenges students to tackle infrastructure and natural resource challenges by designing cities of the future. The team created the “City of Crystal Water,” where agricultural “fish pens” separate industrial, commercial, and residential zones and vehicles travel along dams equipped with paddles that produce hydro energy. Recognizing the importance of connecting their idea with their rural, desert community’s cultural diversity, the team incorporated four languages into their City presentation: Spanish, English, American Sign Language, and Tewa, a Tanoan language spoken by Pueblo Native Americans. The team earned recognition for Most Unique Architectural Model at the New Mexico Regional Future City Competition.

Middle-Schooler’s Device Measures Strength of Sewn Stitches (Holly Jackson, 14, San Jose, CA). Californian Holly Jackson investigated the ancient art of sewing from a unique, architectural point of view. After learning to sew in the 4th grade from her grandmother, Holly’s scientific curiosity led her to explore the relative strength and compatibility of threads and fabrics, important information to better understand innovative sewn materials for the 21st century. She engineered a device to measure the capacity and strength of stitched fabric, and designed experiments and procedures to yield precise measurements. Her research has potential applications in the design of high-performance protective gear, hazmat and space suits, parachutes, and more. Her work won the top award of $25,000 at the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS competition.

Teen Finds Keystrokes May be Key to Password Authentication (Nikhil Behari, 14, Sewickley, PA). After hearing about major data breaches at retail chains, Pennsylvania teen Nikhil Behari got inspired to create a security system that is easy to use, versatile, and effective in protecting online data. Nikhil wondered if the manner in which people type could be used as a means of secondary authentication for safer passwords. He connected sensors to a microprocessor he had programmed to detect keystroke pressure, and used a separate program to measure action and pause time as users type. By analyzing data from these devices, Nikhil discovered that keystroke-based authentication is a potentially powerful technique for distinguishing and authenticating individuals. Nikhil won a second place award in Technology at the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS national finals.

Overcoming Setbacks, St. Louis Teen heads to Silicon Valley to Pitch Businesses Idea (Joschula Page, 16, St. Louis, MO). Joschula Page designed a business plan around a bracelet that wirelessly charges the battery of a cell phone, called UNPLUGGED. Her idea was born when she needed to plug her dying cell phone into a wall all the way across the room from her desk. She asked herself “what if I could charge my phone from exactly where I’m sitting?” The plan earned her the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge last October. In addition to her innovative idea, Joschula overcame setbacks in order to compete in California. Her house was broken into one week before the competition and the computer containing her business plan presentation was stolen, making preparations extremely difficult. With support from her community and mentors, she made it to Silicon Valley and competed as a semi-finalist, learning about other youth businesses and networking with employees of large tech companies along the way.

Inspired by Relatives in Ethiopia, Teens Builds Novel Water Purification System (Bluyé DeMessie, 18, Cincinnati, OH). During the summer before ninth grade, Bluyé DeMessie, 18, visited his relatives in Northern Ethiopia and was shocked by the lack of clean water. Over the last four years, Bluyé developed a novel method to convert agricultural waste into a bio-charcoal that is capable of removing pollutants from water within a short contact time. Bluyé’s potentially game-changing work earned him grand prizes at the 2013 and 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fairs and 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. Bluyé has presented his research at national and international conferences including the 246th and 248th American Chemical Society National Meetings. Bluyé wants to create an efficient and high-capacity water filtration system that can be maintained by villagers in remote areas of third world nations. He plans to study chemistry as a freshman at Harvard University in the fall.

5th Grader Designs Stable Drinking Cup for Patients with Parkinson’s (Lily Born, 11, Chicago, IL). Eleven year old Lily Born saw her grandfather, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, struggle to use a regular cup, spilling his drink in the process. Inspired to find a solution, Lily used moldable plastic to develop a prototype that was more stable and comfortable to use. The Kangaroo Cup can be used by individuals who suffer from muscular control issues, as well as young children. With the help of her father, she launched a crowdsourcing campaign and eventually raised enough funds to help bring the Kangaroo Cup to market. She launched product directly to the market on the crowdfunding sites Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where she successfully pre-sold over 10,000 cups. She was chosen as a member of the Independent Youth Teen Network, Selected as Business Insider’s Top 11 year old in Tech, and was honored as a “Young Wonder” in CNN’s Heroes Tribute. She is the youngest member of the Catalyze Chicago’s Hardware Incubator.

Team from the U.S. Virgin Islands Launch into STEM with Rockets (Stephanie Bullock, 16; Shimeeka Stanley, 15; Gabriel St. Kitts, 13; Maria Heywood, 13; Amari DeSouza, 12, U.S. Virgin Islands). Under-represented minorities make up only 9.5% of American STEM workers. Determined to demonstrate that hard work and dedication can trump statistics, Elena L. Christian Jr. High School in the U.S. Virgin Islands inspires students to pursue higher education and careers in STEM through the Team America Rocketry Challenge. Their commitment has paid off, with teams qualifying and competing in the national finals four out of the last five years. Team Caribbean Splash was also selected to submit a scientific proposal to participate in the Small Satellites for Secondary Students (S4) Payload Contest. Their proposal was one of only five that was accepted. The team will be contending in the competition in Nevada this June.

New Mexico High Schooler Morphs Algae into Bio-Fuel (Sophia Sánchez-Maes, 16 Las Cruces, NM). When Sophia Sánchez-Maes learned that algae has the potential to yield 5000 gallons of biodiesel annually per acre, she wondered how best to harness that promise. She computationally modeled algae growth in order to optimize that phase of the biofuel-production process. Then she began work as a National Science Foundation Young Scholar, investigating how to convert a particular extremophile algae from Yellowstone into biofuel, with promising results. She found her algae holds the potential to fuel an energy positive wastewater treatment system, and also demonstrated lower cost conversion of the algae to fuel compared to traditional methods. Her work earned her a place at the Supercomputing expo in Los Alamos.

Young Researcher Harnesses Precision Medicine to Improve Cancer Diagnosis (Natalie Ng, 19, Cupertino, CA). Harnessing the power of Precision Medicine, Natalie Ng developed two micro-RNA-based prognostic models that can predict metastasis in breast cancer, and identified two micro-RNAs that independently impact the ability of breast cancer cells to metastasize. Ng’s project has important implications for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer diagnosed in women worldwide, according to the latest WHO report. A frustrating reality about cancer is that even when initial hormonal treatment seems to work, metastatic cancer cells can survive and spread to distant sites in the body. Therefore, accurate prediction of metastatic outcome, such as with the aid of genetic signatures, can significantly improve the ability to predict the recurrence risk and to devise appropriate treatment strategies for individual cancer patients. Ng won First Place at the 2013 International BioGENEius Challenge.

High-School Senior Taps Precision Medicine to Improve Cardiac Health Diagnostics (Ruchi Pandya, 18, San Jose, CA). Combining nanotechnology, biology and electrochemistry, Ruchi Pandya’s research requires small biological samples – only a single drop of blood – to test for specific cardiac biomarkers. She developed a one-square centimeter carbon nanofiber electrode-based biosensor that has the potential to improve cardiac health diagnostics for patients around the world. Ruchi takes her passion for STEM education beyond the lab by mentoring 9th and 10th grade students on research and engineering as a teaching assistant for her school’s STEM-research class. She has competed at the California State Science Fair every year, and has won 18 category and special awards for scientific research. After graduation, Ruchi intends to major in materials science and engineering, and hopes to pursue a career as a technology entrepreneur.

6th Grade Engineers Design Earthquake-Safe Structures for Developing World (Julia Bray, 13; Luke Clay, 13; Ashton Cofer, 12, New Albany and Gahanna, OH). A team of Ohio 6th graders got inspired after befriending some Haitian students in 2010, right before the region’s devastating earthquake. Team “Quake Safe” wanted to find a solution to help make the many structurally unsound buildings in Haiti safer. The students experimented with materials that could withstand pressure and unique construction shapes to find a building design that would be both cost effective and structurally sound. Their hyperbolic bamboo creation takes on a paraboloid shape, inspired by the shape of Pringle chips, and uses bamboo – a fast growing renewable resource that is easily accessed by most in the region. The team won first place in the National eCybermission competition – a U.S.-Army run online contest that challenges student groups to submit detailed science or engineering project plans that solve a specific community-based challenge.

Crustacean-Derived Bio-filter removes Antibiotics from Drinking Water (Valerio, 16; Anthony Archuleta, 15; Julia Johnson 15, Andrea Chin-Lopez, 15, Ranchos de Taos and Taos, NM). 9th-grade “Craybiotics” team member James Valerio is severely allergic to penicillin and other common antibiotics derived from penicillin. For him, exposure to water supplies that are potentially contaminated with these substances could be a matter of life and death. Using chitosan, a polymer that can be derived from the shells of crustaceans, he and his teammates developed a bio-filter system to remove antibiotic drugs from drinking water. The team tested different forms of commercially available chitosan and also created their own from natural sources: crabs. Their promising research could help solve the growing problem of antibiotics in the water sources.

Connecticut Teen Patents Hiccup-Curing Lollipop (Mallory Kievman, 16, Manchester, CT). Hiccups are a nuisance for most, and a little-known side effect of chemotherapy, kidney dialysis, anesthesia, and other medical treatments—affecting quality of life for already-suffering patients. After enduring recurring bouts of hiccups over an extended period in the 7th grade, Mallory Kievman researched the physiology of hiccups and the associated folk remedies that have persisted over time. Mallory identified three approaches that worked to soothe her own hiccups: consuming apple cider vinegar, consuming sugar, and sucking on a lollipop. Mallory combined all three approaches and coined her invention the “Hiccupop.” Mallory is now a patented inventor (US Patent #8,563,030). Her creation appears to work by over-stimulating a set of nerves in the throat and mouth that may be responsible for the hiccup reflex arc. Her work earned her the honor of ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange and presenting at the Inc. 500 Awards Ceremony. Further research to test the efficacy of her invention is being conducted in 2015.

All-Girl Developer Team Codes App to help Teens Cope (Stephanie Lopez, 17; Chloe Westphal, 17; Amanda Arellano, 18, Kennewick, WA). Inspired by their own experiences with the difficult emotions that accompany adolescence, team “Safe & Sound” developed an app concept to provide a way for teens to manage anxiety and feelings of depression by sharing their feelings in a private journal. Following the tragic suicide of 15 year old student in their community, the girls teamed up with their Health Informatics teacher to find a way to harness technology to promote teens’ health and wellbeing. Their app concept was chosen from over 1,000 submissions by a panel of judges, ultimately earning the team a place as one of 8 National Winners of the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. Over the next few months, trainers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab will give the team onsite and virtual training on coding and app development, helping them to publish the app.

Wearable Breathalyzer Wristband Encourages Responsible Drinking. (Jonathan Hernandez, 17; Fanta Sinayoko, 18, Lancaster, CA). Jonathan Hernandez and Fanta Sinayoko represent their California high-school’s Lemelson-MIT “InvenTeam”—which designed and provisionally patented a unique blood alcohol content (BAC) detection wristband, called ëris. The apparatus, which sits on the underside of the wrist, is 1/8th the size of traditional breathalyzer technologies and, at $20, about 13% of the price of comparable breathalyzers. Upon blowing onto a miniature sensor in the wristband, the presence of ethanol triggers an analog voltage charge that is converted into a light-emitting diode (LED) reaction. Easily discernible colors indicate blood alcohol results to the wearer; green indicates the user is safe to drive (below legal limit BAC), and red indicates the user is not safe to drive (above legal limit BAC). The wristband is designed to be an appealing, viable option for adults and of-age college students who wish to drink responsibly. The team is currently working to file a utility patent, with at least one company expressing interest in a licensing agreement. Jonathan’s father emigrated from Mexico and his mother from Vietnam. Fanta’s mother and father emigrated from Guinea, West Africa.

Harnessing Wave Energy to Purify Ocean Water for Drinking (Joseph Santana, 12; Sophia Nobles, 11, Tampa and Land O Lakes, FL). A team of Florida grade schoolers set out to find a renewable way of generating safe drinking water from ocean water – currently a costly process. The team designed WateRenew, a conceptual system that uses wing-like structures to harness energy from the vacillating hydroelectric forces of the underwater swells. WateRenew converts energy from the elliptical motion of waves into electrical energy that can power desalination of ocean water into drinking water. The desalination process incorporates a special “reverse osmosis” membrane made out of graphene to trap salt while allowing water molecules to flow through.

Young Patent-Holder Solves Challenges for Athletes, the Elderly, and New Parents (Lilianna Zyszkowski, 14, Norfolk, CT). Driven to invent things that help people, 9th grader Lilianna Zyskowski developed a series of inventions that use networked sensors to “mind” things for people.
The PillMinder was created with a grandparent in mind. It uses capacitive touch sensors, LED lights, and a networked microcontroller to remind people to take their medications on schedule. The device also alerts caregivers via Twitter and SMS whether the proper pills have been taken on time. Her second invention, Dolphin Swim Goggles, was inspired by a swim teammate’s concussion and are designed to prevent head, neck, and hand injuries. The Dolphin Goggles used an ultrasonic distance sensor (like the ones used in car bumpers) and LED lights to alert swimmers before they hit the pool wall – and earned Lilianna ESPN’s Sports Invention Award. Her most recent invention, the BabyMinder uses conductive fabric to monitor a baby’s temperature, diaper status, and distance from the parents—and then alerts the parents’ cell phones. As a Next Step Inventor with the Connecticut Invention Convention, Lilianna is also working with a Silicon Valley firm to bring the PillMinder technology to market.

Teen “Teaches” Software to Distinguish Cancer-Causing Gene Mutations (Nathan Han, 16, Boston, MA). Nathan Han developed a machine-learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer. Using data from publicly available databases, Nathan examined detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene in order to “teach” his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. Nathan was awarded the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2014. He enjoys reading, Ping-Pong, and has been playing the violin since kindergarten.

Sophomore Student Transforms Old Piano into Interactive Jukebox (Sierra Seabrease, 15, Baltimore, MD). Sierra Seabrease, a Baltimore high-school sophomore, transformed an old, deserted piano into a fully functioning jukebox that pulls songs from an ever-changing Spotify playlist. Sierra’s “Jukebox Piano” has helped her discover a personal passion for interactive technology. Sierra continually updates both the appearance and functionality of the Jukebox Piano. Most recently, she used LEDs, a microphone, and other technology to create interactive lights that correspond to the music being played. Sirerra is a founder of and active participant in the Makerettes, a group that aims to expand the role of young women within the larger Baltimore tech community. She has given two TEDxYouth@Baltimore talks and is an active participant in tech outreach through “reverse mentoring” opportunities, such as helping to answer tech questions from new Teach for America teachers.

Students Send Science Project to the International Space Station (Anthony Holmes, 13; Jacob Rubio, 11; Kalista Ybarra, 12; Madelyn Hickman, 11, Antonio, TX). In 2015, “Crystal Tetris,” an experiment designed by students from Hobby Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, blasted off to orbit at approximately 220 miles above the Earth’s surface aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The project examined and concurrently compared the growth of ice crystals aboard the ISS and during a ground-truthing experiment on Earth at their school. Originally scheduled for an October 2014 launch, the students experienced a set-back when the rocket carrying their experiment exploded a few seconds after takeoff. The students regrouped and were able to recreate their experiment, which successfully launched in January 2015 and returned to Earth in February 2015.

Colorado Teen Branches out with Leaf-Imagery Project (Tiye Garret-Mills, 17, Denver, CO). High-school senior Tiye Garrett-Mills overcame a personal struggle with severe depression and anxiety. Inspired to make a change her life, Tiye started joining clubs and organizations, including participating in various science fairs. She began to research more economically viable and efficient ways to create images of the vein systems in leaves. Using an HP deskjet scanner, Tiye engineered several different methods to produce leaf images that could help reduce the cost and time it takes to procure these images professionally. She was recently accepted as a 2014 Recipient in the Teen Science Scholars program and participates in both the National Society of Black Engineers and the International Baccalaureate Black Student Organization.

Students Design Sustainable Low-Cost Lantern to the Light the Way along a Lake (Corine Peifer, 17; Kristian Sonsteby, 18, Wallenpaupack, PA). Today, the extension of shore electricity onto docks on Lake Wallenpaupack, PA is prohibited by lake regulations, resulting in poorly lit docks. Corine Peifer and Kristian Sonsteby, as part of a broader “InvenTeam”, designed a generator that uses the movement of a boat dock on Lake Wallenpaupack to produce electricity. The device consists of modified gear motors acting as generators attached to an arm that reciprocates when waves cause the dock to rise and fall. The produced through the wave motion is stored in a battery and used to power an LED lantern. This device uses safer low-voltage electricity, which is allowed on the Lake. Their device mounts directly onto the dock instead of floating as a buoy like most other wave-powered generators. It can be easily adapted for use on other lakes with floating docks. The generator produces enough power to maintain the 4.8 volts at 700 milliamp-hours. The lantern can be powered for 8 hours with an output of 30 lumens when fully charged. The first prototype cost just $300 to fabricate. The team’s invention is on display at the nearby Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center and earned first place in the Pennsylvania Entrepreneurship Challenge sponsored by EconomicsPA.

In North Carolina, Students Step Up to Protect Honeybees (Claudia Button, 12; Nathan Button, 12; Kate Fitzpatrick, 14, Banner Elk, Boone, and Mountain City, NC). The “Bee Aware” team from North Carolina is working to help revitalize honey bee populations and to inform the public and businesses about the harmful effects of specific chemicals on honey bee populations and the harmful ramifications to human, animal, and plant life. As part of their project, the group has presented to local garden clubs, Christmas tree farms, businesses, visitors, and tourists about honeybee science. They’ve also presented scientific information about honeybees to schools across the region, educating more than a thousand High Country elementary schoolers on the importance of honeybees and what can be done to protect them. The Bee Award Team was awarded the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant for their project, which will include the opening of a bee sanctuary in their community this spring.

Raised in Family of Farmers, Student Seeks Sustainable Alternative to Ethanol (Eric Koehlmoos, 18, Granville, Iowa). Eric Koehlmoos’s conducted three years of research with prairie cordgrass and switchgrass to better understand their impact in the cellulosic ethanol industry. Coming from a farming family, Eric has always been interested in the biofuel industry and in the new cellulosic ethanol plants being built near his home. Working with professors at South Dakota State University, Eric conducted experiments with cordgrass and switchgrass, discovering that both grasses produce nearly 200 more gallons of ethanol per acre than corn and wheat straw, two mainstream methods for ethanol production. He also discovered that when these grasses are pretreated with calcium hydroxide, ethanol yields are increased by as much as 80% and byproducts have higher protein values than corn distiller grains. Eric placed first in the National FFA Agriscience Fair and hopes to one day use these grasses to commercially produce ethanol in the Southern Plains, providing a sustainable solution to meet agriculture needs while avoiding competition with the food supply.

Using Machine Learning Techniques, Teen Demystifies Proteins Involved in Cancer and Ebola (Anvita Gupta, 17, Scottsdale, Arizona). Anvita Gupta used machine learning to “teach” a computer to identify potential new drugs for cancer, tuberculosis, and Ebola. She combined artificial intelligence techniques, 3D visualization, and biomimicry to systematically discover which drugs might inhibit the interactions of intrinsically disordered proteins with other proteins. These proteins make up 70% of all cancer proteins and are mutated in tuberculosis and Ebola. She’s also an advocate for getting more girls in science fields, starting an after-school computer science group to teach middle school girls programming and app development. Forty girls enrolled the first year. Anvita’s research earned her Third Place Medal of Distinction for Global Good at the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search.

Phoenix Teens Lead Award-Winning Robotics Team (Sergio Corral, 17; Isela Martinez, 17, Phoenix, AZ). Phoenix high school seniors Sergio Corral and Isela Martinez are the president and vice-president, respectively, of the Carl Hayden Community High School Robotics Team. This team continues a winning tradition (and history of sending its students into collegiate engineering schools) ever since its remarkable 2004 first place finish in a sophisticated underwater robotics competition (defeating the likes of MIT and other college programs.) The story of this team, which features Sergio and Isela, was chronicled in the documentary film, Underwater Dreams, released last summer. Sergio and Isela, like many other Carl Hayden Robotics team members, have shown grit, resilience, and perseverance to achieve their goals and have inspired other students, especially those from immigrant communities, to pursue science. Carl Hayden Robotics, a member of the FIRST Hall of Fame, has won four consecutive Arizona FIRST Robotics regional competitions – and they compete in the prestigious AUVSI Robosub competition against universities.

Classmates Team up to Give Wheelchair 3D-Printed Upgrade (Mohammed Sayed, 16 and Kaitlin Reed, 16, Cambridge and Dover, MA). Mohammed Sayed is a wheelchair-bound student at NuVu experimental high school in Massachusetts, which encourages students to solve real-world problems through hands-on apprenticeship opportunities and studio-teaching. Mohammed and classmate Kaitlin Reed used a 3D printer to transform his wheelchair into a cutting-edge piece of technology. First, Kaitlin built and added a “hand-drive”, a lever-powered attachment that can propel the wheelchair both forwards and backwards, snap on and off the wheelchair easily, is entirely 3D printable, and completely open source. Then, Mohammed added a Universal Arm – a 3D-printed modular arm that can be used as a food tray, camera tripod, rain canopy, laptop holder, and cup holder.

Team of Students in Foster Care System will Compete in Georgia Robitics Regionals (Taj Rhodes, 14; Malachi Williams, 16; Johnny Manuel, 18; Illya Wynn, 15; Virginia Wynn, 13; Stephan Ellis, 10, Atlanta, GA). A rookie First Robotics team from Atlanta will be the first in the state of Georgia to participate as a group of kids from the state’s Foster Care System. The entire team is comprised of extraordinary students in the Georgia Foster Care System. These students are working on a robot on site at Johnson Research and Development and are being mentored by Dr. Lonnie Johnson, best known as the inventor of the Supersoaker. These students will experience their First Robotics Competition and compete at the Peachtree Regional FRC competition this spring.

With 3D-Printed Prosthetic Paws, Pup can now Run and Play (Derby the Dog, 18 months). Tara Anderson works at a South-Carolina-based company focused on 3D printing. When she took in a disabled foster dog named Derby, who was born with deformed front legs, she decided to take action. Tara worked with colleagues to design custom-made prosthetics for Derby using data from CAT scans and 2D photos of the dog’s legs. She was then able to 3D-print the new limbs. The pup, who has since been adopted by a loving family, can now run and play. He is reported to enjoy accompanying his owners on a 2-mile jog every morning.

In addition to those exhibiting, honored students invited to the White House Science Fair include:

  • Therechel Abad, 14, McAllen, TX, Rio Grande Valley Science and Engineering Fair
  • Ernald Jules (E.J.) Aloria, 17, Wetumpka, AL, BEST Robotics
  • Sreya Atluri, 18, Centreville, VA, Aspirations in Computing
  • Zena Marie Banker, 17, Wetumpka, AL, BEST Robotics
  • Karen Bonilla, 16, Miami, FL, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
  • Ian Elijah Coolidge, 14, Hollis, NH, Christopher Columbus Awards
  • Shemar DaCosta, 14, Bronx, NY, C/I Hackathon
  • Mackenzie Dix, 12, Tipp City, OH, Invention Convention
  • Audrey Gallier, 13, Brookfield, IL, You Be The Chemist Challenge
  • Swapnil Garg, 14, Sunnyvale, CA, MATHCOUNTS Competition Series
  • Craig Hammond, 12, Las Vegas, NV, eCYBERMISSION NANOS
  • Terrence Jackson, 16, Washington, DC, Team America Rocketry Challenge
  • Ariel Jordan-Zamora, 18, Chicago, IL, State of Illinois Science Fair
  • Robert Kancans, 17, White Bear Lake, MN, University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute Academy
  • Kevin Liu, 14, Carmel, IN, MATHCOUNTS Competition Series
  • Bethany Macz, 10, Los Angeles, CA, Curiosity Machine
  • Naren Manoj, 18, Houston, TX, Zero Robotics High School Tournament
  • Esi McAllen, 17, New York, NY, Verizon App Challenge
  • Ryan McCrystal, 11, Leesburg, VA, CyberPatriot: The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition
  • Matthew Meadows, 14, Atlanta, GA, MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge
  • Dalilah Medina, 9, Los Angeles, CA, Curiosity Machine
  • Sabrina Melendez, 15, Alexandria, VA, Team America Rocketry Challenge
  • Alon Millet, 17, Franklin Lakes, NJ, USAID Innovation Award
  • Garret Minor, 15, Fairburn, GA, MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge
  • Joshuah Andreas Noel, 18, Wetumpka, AL, BEST Robotics
  • Erick Patterson, 14, College Park, GA, MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge
  • Terrell Prince, 15, Atlanta, GA, MATHCOUNTS Math Video Challenge
  • Lauren Prox, 18, Newport News, VA, Girl Scout Gold Award Project
  • Austin Roberts, 16, South Charleston, WV, Zero Robotics High School Tournament
  • Bhavjeet Sanghera, 12, Great Falls, VA, CyberPatriot: The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition
  • Monica Saraf, 13, Herndon, VA, CyberPatriot: The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition
  • Toni-Chanelle Suncar, 10, Chelsea, MA, Citizen Schools SCRATCH Apprenticeship Program with Digitas
  • Heather Sweeney, 15, Katy, TX, Science Olympiad
  • Peter Christopher Szczeszynski, 13, Hollis, NH, Christopher Columbus Awards
  • Steven Patrick Szczeszynski, 11, Hollis, NH, Christopher Columbus Awards
  • Lucero Varela, 17, Chicago, IL, Public School Science Fair
  • Katie Wiesner, 12, Las Vegas, NV, eCYBERMISSION NANOS
  • Rahul Yesantharao, 15, Houston, TX, Zero Robotics High School Tournament
  • Jingze (Erik) Yu, 15, Katy, TX, Science Olympiad

Source: whitehouse.gov

  • Source:

Department of Insurance Announces Multi-State Settlements with Guardian Life and Pacific Life Insurance Companies

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois will share part of $4.45 million settlement payment

CHICAGO, IL –  Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) Acting Director James A. Stephens today announced a $2 million multi-state market conduct settlement agreement with Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian Life) and a $2.45 million agreement with Pacific Life Insurance Company (Pacific Life). These settlements are agreements with both insurers to reform their business practices to benefit policyholders.

The Regulatory Settlement Agreements stem from multi-state market conduct examinations of the forty largest life insurers regarding the timely payment of proceeds to beneficiaries of life insurance policies and annuities. These examinations were led by Illinois, Florida, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, California (that served as the managing lead state of the examination of Pacific Life) and New Hampshire (that served as the managing lead state of Guardian Life). As a result of these exams, insurers have paid more than $1 billion to beneficiaries nationwide.

“The Department is committed to reforming business practices to protect policy beneficiaries and consumers in the payments of benefits rightfully owed,” said DOI Acting Director James A. Stephens.

Under these agreements, Guardian Life and Pacific Life will implement business reforms to promote a timely and efficient search for the beneficiaries of their in force life insurance policies and annuities through regular matches of their insureds and annuitants against the Social Security Administration Death Master File (DMF).

The agreements become effective after 20 states sign on. Illinois, along with California, Florida, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania have signed the agreement with Pacific Life. All of these states, along with Massachusetts, have also signed the agreement with Guardian Life.

Copies of the settlement agreements are available on the DOI website at http://insurance.illinois.gov/Home/ImpLinks.asp.  Consumers with questions regarding these settlements, or questions or concerns about their insurance, should contact the Department’s Consumer Division at http://insurance.illinois.gov or call 866-445-5364

Unity Care Youth and Family Development Center Hosts 4th Annual YouthLive! Fundraising Gala Benefiting At-Risk and Foster Youth

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
HIGHLIGHTS: Keynote Speaker: Leigh Anne Tuohy, Inspirational foster mom portrayed in “The Blind Side;” youth talent art and fashion shows; foster care youth speaker.
Unity Care and Youth Live

San Jose, CA – (BlackNews.com) Unity Care, a youth and family development agency providing services and support for San Francisco Bay Area at-risk and foster youth, will host its Fourth Annual YouthLive! Gala (www.youth-live.com) on Saturday evening, April 25, 2015, at the Fairmont San Jose Hotel. The hotel is located at 170 South Market Street in San Jose, Calif.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Leigh Anne Tuohy, inspirational subject of the record-breaking movie, “The Blind Side,” which chronicles her journey as foster mother to current NFL (National Football League) offensive tackle, Michael Oher. Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award® for Best Actress for her portrayal of Tuohy in the movie.

ABC7’s Spencer Christian will emcee the evening’s entertainment.

The event will open at 5:45 p.m. with a VIP reception (by invitation) with Ms. Tuohy. An open, no-host bar reception with commence at 6:00 p.m., accompanied by a silent youth art auction and treasure chest key sales for all guests.

During the formal dinner, Unity Care foster youth and local young people will entertain on stage and the fashion runway. Performers will include Katie Brown, Los Gatos High School; Madelyn Davis, Archbishop Mitty High School; Michael Xavier Mulea, Andrew Hill High School, and Victoria Thuy Vi McDowell, Raymond J. Fisher Middle School. Violinist Kai Kight will give a special performance.

At 8:00 p.m., Leigh Anne Tuohy will describe her experiences as foster mother to NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher.

Following Tuohy’s talk, Unity Care alumna, Charity Brooks, will share her story. She says, “At 20, I was living in a homeless shelter with two children and in an abusive relationship. I felt alone and completely lost. In just two years, Unity Care’s transitional housing program taught me how to take control of my life, and today, at 26, I can truly say I’m happy and doing very well.”

The evening will close with YouthLive!’s signature “fund a mission” activity and a live auction.

“Leigh Anne Tuohy’s passion for service and her commitment to bettering the lives of foster youth are perfectly aligned with our mission, as our organization was originally founded to help those in foster care and beyond,” says Founder and CEO André Chapman. “I know her inspiring stories of her life as foster mom to Michael Oher will entertain and inspire us all. It’s going to be a fabulous evening!”

Tickets to YouthLive! are $150 and may be purchased at www.youth-live.com/purchase.php. Purchase before April 10, 2015 is recommended as the event often sells out. VIP table (seating for 10) sponsorships are available at $2,500.

YouthLive! event sponsors to date are: ABC7, Sleep Train Mattress Center, Cisco Systems, Silicon Valley Business Journal, KLIV/KRTY, Lexus of Stevens Creek, Marcia & Chris Riedel, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Fashion show attire will be provided by Chona Pike, Movers and Shakers Apparel, Old Navy, and Peter Cassara Clothiers . Hair and make-up will be donated by The Paul Mitchell School, San Jose.
About Unity Care:
Unity Care offers a wide range of services benefiting at-risk and foster youth and their families throughout Northern California. Its signature program, founded in 1992, focuses on serving the housing needs of youth in foster care and beyond. The organization’s mission has grown and expanded over the past two decades and, today, includes more than a dozen community-based, education and behavioral health programs, aiding approximately 5,500 underserved youth and families annually.

Unity Care’s programs exemplify its “Five Pillars of Success” philosophy: Housing, Education, Employment, Well-Being (physical, social, emotional and spiritual) and Unconditional Care (adult connection). Each program focuses on being successful and supportive while promoting accountability, honesty and fun. Detailed information about Unity Care programs is available at www.unitycare.org.

Senate Confirms Hugo Chaviano as Director of the Illinois Department of Labor

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hugo Chaviano was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor.

“It is with great honor that I take on this new role. As an adopted son of Illinois, I am ready to give back to the place I call home,” said Hugo Chaviano, Director. “I look forward to serving the people of Illinois – and am committed to protecting those most critical to the success of our state – our employees and employers.”

Chaviano brings more than 35 years of legal experience to the job, including work as a mediator and arbitrator.

“Director Chaviano’s skills and expertise from his prior work experience will help us in affecting positive change across the agency as well as the state,” commented Daniel Mumpher, Chief of Staff. “We are looking forward to a fresh perspective to help us turnaround Illinois.”

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts