Missouri EPSCoR helps fund 1-acre permanent agriculture exhibit at SLSC

Monday, December 7, 2015

St. Louis Science Center announces new 1-acre permanent agriculture exhibit

St. Louis Post Dispatch

November 23, 2015

By Sarah Bryan Miller

The St. Louis Science Center announced details Monday of a new one-acre permanent exhibit on agriculture. Titled “GROW,” it will teach about “food from farm to fork.”

The $7.3 million project will be paid for primarily by private donations and bond money from 2014 and in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program. It is expected to open next summer. The first major addition of a permanent exhibit at the center since 1991, when the facility’s main building was constructed, it will be built on the former Exploradome site, at 5050 Oakland Avenue.

The idea for GROW arose before the by-then-outdated Exploradome was deflated in 2013, said Science Center president and CEO Bert Vescolani, who began his job in December 2011. In talking about possible new exhibits, he said, the staff realized that with the global population expected to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, a major increase in global food production will be required.

“We got excited about things that were happening in food and agriculture,” Vescolani said in a telephone interview. “We tested it with our scientific advisers, and it resonated with everyone.”

GROW, which will include more that 40 exhibits incorporating chemistry, economics, life sciences, culture and technology, will be open year-round. Along with an introduction to farming, there will be facts about water, weather and how plants work, and a greenhouse with a working aquaponic farm, in which fish fertilize the plants.

There will also be bees and the Fermentation Station, where visitors can experience what Vescolani called “the power of using microbes and the unique environment that these little critters live in to make the things we love, like cheese and wine and beer,” both during regular hours and as “after-hours opportunities to show off.”

Along with a large running tractor, GROW will have a flock of chickens, and a do-it-yourself farming area. The idea, said Vescolani, “is to learn more about the food that we eat.”

Most of the project will be outdoors, with interactive exhibits designed by Oakland, Calif., firm Gyroscope, and activities. Renowned architect Gyo Obata, working as the lead designer with architecture and design firm Arcturis, will design a pavilion containing permanent classrooms. (In April 2014, Zoo-Museum District board member Pat Whitaker resigned from the board after revelations that the Science Center had awarded Arcturis, her company, a contract worth tens of thousands of dollars.)

GROW seems to be a unique concept. Normally, when a new exhibition is considered, “we look around to see who’s done it really well,” Vescolani said. “But there’s not another exhibit like this anywhere in the world that we know of. Some science centers around the country have done something about farming, but nothing like this.”

EPSCoR Workshop Opportunities

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. The EPSCoR program is directed at those jurisdictions that have historically received lesser amounts of NSF Research and Development (R&D) funding. Twenty-nine jurisdictions, including twenty-seven states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands, currently participate in EPSCoR.  Through this program, NSF establishes partnerships with government, higher education and industry that are designed to effect sustainable improvements in a jurisdiction's research infrastructure, R&D capacity, and hence, its national R&D competitiveness.

The EPSCoR Office welcomes unsolicited proposals from EPSCoR jurisdictions for workshops involving the EPSCoR community. These workshops will focus on innovative ways to address multi-jurisdictional efforts on themes of regional to national importance with relevance to EPSCoR's goals/objectives and NSF's mission. All jurisdictions that currently participate in EPSCoR are eligible to submit workshop proposals. Non-EPSCoR institutions and individuals may participate in the collaborative workshop activities, but they cannot lead the workshop proposal effort, nor can they be recipients of NSF EPSCoR funds.

View the Workshop Opportunities Program Solicitation for more details:

The National STEM Report Released

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The ACT has released its 2015 National STEM Report this week, which assesses levels of achievement and levels of interest in STEM among college-ready high school students. STEM is Science, Computer Science and Mathematics, Medical and Health, and Engineering and Technology. The report found that about half of US high school graduates have expressed interest in STEM majors and careers. Other key findings include:

  1. Interest in STEM remains high
  2. Students with STEM interest that is both expressed and measured outperformed their peers
  3. For the first time, students are measured against the ACT STEM College Readiness Benchmark
  4. Interest in teaching STEM subject areas continues to lag

This report shows achievement levels in each area of STEM on the national level, as well as the actual number and percentage of students interested in specific majors and occupations.

View the report here or by clicking the image below:

2015 STEM Summit Agenda Announced

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition will be hosting its 4th bi-annual MO STEM Summit, November 4-5, 2015 in St. Louis. This event will bring together leaders, visionaries from education, business and government to share best practices and to advance the agenda for innovation in Missouri's STEM education and policy development.

This year's Summit will focus attention on high-impact STEM Programming that is being delivered in the K-12 and Higher Education sectors. Emphasis is also being placed upon business and education partnerships that help with career pathway development.

Who should attend? Anyone who is focused on STEM Education at the K-12, postsecondary and in business industry.

2015 STEM Summit Details

Wednesday, November 4th  & Thursday, November 5th, 2015
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel- Chesterfield
16625 Swingley Bridge Road
St. Louis, MO 63017

Click Here for the Agenda

Please contact Brian Crouse at bcrouse [at] mochamber [dot] com or 573-634-3511 or visit

Expand Your Broader Impact Skills: AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists

Event date(s): Monday, October 15, 2018 to Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Location: AIBS Washington, DC, Offices, 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005

Rarely has the need for effective and influential communication about science been more important than it is today.

Politicians and political interests are redefining and reinterpreting science—with great persistence and impact. The public is routinely asked to make decisions about matters informed by science. The news media is endeavoring to share increasingly complex stories about science with the public. The majority of the public still respect scientists and value science, but they often find it challenging to discern who and what is legitimate.

Simply adding to the noise will not provide individuals with the understanding they need to inform their deliberations and decisions. Scientists must become more skilled at communicating in impactful ways.

As called for by many sources, the time for business as usual has passed. There is a real and immediate need for scientists to become effective and engaged communicators.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is responding to this need by offering scientists a professional development opportunity. The AIBS Communications Training Boot Camp for Scientists expands on our highly successful media and science policy training workshops. The program meets the needs of everyone from graduate students to senior researchers and program administrators.

AIBS is the scientific organization that promotes the use of science to inform decision-making that advances biology for the benefit of science and society.

AIBS has a long and successful track record of engaging, informing, and influencing the public and science policy decision-makers. Our audiences include members of Congress, federal agency heads and program managers, state officials, and university administrators. In addition to working directly with these groups, we routinely engage the public through traditional and digital media.

Our staff members have used their decades of science policy and communications experience to develop training materials and resources that provide scientists with the skills needed to successfully communicate about their research with decision-makers and reporters. To date, AIBS has trained more than 1,700 scientists.

AIBS Communications Boot Camp

The Boot Camp is an intensive, two-day, hands-on training program in Washington, DC.

Participants will learn: 

  • How to translate scientific findings for non-technical audiences
  • How to tell a resonant story that informs decision-makers
  • How to prepare for and participate in a news interview
  • How to prepare for and engage in a meeting with a decision-maker
  • How to protect your scientific reputation
  • How to identify and define the audience you need to reach
  • What policymakers want and need to know from a scientist
  • What reporters are looking for in an interview
  • How to leverage social media
  • How the nation’s science policy is developed and implemented

Participants will have the opportunity for formal and informal discussions with science policy and communications experts working in Washington, DC.

Dates: October 15–16, 2018

Location: AIBS Washington, DC, Offices, 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005

Cost: The registration fee covers instruction, materials and resources, breakfast and lunch during the program, and a reception on October 15th. 


$440/person      AIBS Individual Members. The course is not tax deductible, but a portion of an individual AIBS membership is tax deductible. A non-refundable $100 deposit is required at the time of registration. Join or renew now.
$440/person Individuals officially nominated to participate by an AIBS Member Society or Organization (MSO) in good standing. A non-refundable $100 deposit is due at the time of registration.
$495/person Individuals who are not AIBS members or nominated by an AIBS MSO. A $100 deposit is due at the time of registration.Join AIBS now to save $55.00. 
  Group Discount: For any group or organization that sponsors the participation of four or more individuals, the registration rate will be reduced by $30/participant in the group. Please contact jpalakovichcarr [at] aibs [dot] org for details.

Register now:

STELAR Webinar Series: Work at the Human-Technology Frontier

Event date(s): Thursday, January 25, 2018 to Thursday, March 8, 2018

Four sessions beginning on Thursday, January 25 at 2 PM ET

Join STELAR for a four-part webinar series on our recent white paper: Building the Foundational Skills Needed for Success in Work at the Human-Technology Frontier available for download from Education Development Center's website.

Each webinar will explore the educational and social implications of living, learning and working in a future driven by technology. Read on to learn the focus of each session, then register for the entire series, or individual dates of interest. 

We hope that this paper will provoke both dialog and debate, and invite you to join the discussion!


Part 1: Future Work at the Human-Technology Frontier

January 25, 2018 2:00-3:00 pm ET


What does work look like at the Human-Technology Frontier? What will workers need to know and be able to do to succeed there?

Advances in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence predict fundamental changes that have the potential to impact “work” in all regions of the country, for people at all socioeconomic levels. Although the future of work is unclear, thought leaders around the world, including those at the U.S.. National Science Foundation (NSF), assert that the Internet of Things, robotics, and machine learning will be ubiquitous in tomorrow’s workplaces. In this new machine age, various technologies (sensors, communication, computation, and intelligence) will be embedded around, on, and in us; humans will shape technology and technology will shape human interaction; and technologies and humans will collaborate to discover and innovate in short, the Human-Technology Frontier. 

During this webinar STELAR's Joyce Malyn-Smith, Sarita Pillai and Caroline Parker will share descriptions of future work environments provided by interviewees from high tech industries currently working at that frontier, and describe the types of skills, knowledge and dispositions our students need to develop to set them on a pathway to success in work at the Human-Technology Frontier.


Part 2: The Psychology of Working

February 8, 2018 2:00-3:00 pm ET


How does work contribute to our social and psychological well-being and the stability of our nation?

Join STELAR as we host Dr. David Blustein of Boston College, as he describes his new Psychology of Working Theory (PWT) and the future of work. Building off research from vocational psychology, multicultural psychology, intersectionality, and macro-levels analyses of work, PWT proposes that contextual factors are fundamental  to career attainment and, also, highlights the importance of K–12 education as a way of mitigating some of the contextual factors while also strengthening students’ career adaptability (capacity for exploration and planning) and sense of proactivity. By addressing these psychosocial factors through both STEM content and guided STEM career-development activities, ITEST helps youth develop the tools they will need to access and persist on the STEM career path of their choosing.


Part 3: Educational Implications of future work at the Human-Technology Frontier

February 22, 2018 2:00-3:00 pm ET


What Career Competencies should K-12 students develop to prepare for success in work at the Human-Technology Frontier?

The worker of the future will require a deep knowledge of science, technology, and engineering coupled with the technical skills and understanding of how computers, robots, and other machines work. This technological grounding, however, will not be enough to succeed. Optimal new workers will be curious, self-directed, and resilient. They will be lifelong learners willing to be disruptive and innovative, while also being cooperative and interpersonally competent. They will think outside the box; solve problems and risk failure; work in dynamic, cross-disciplinary teams; and lead those teams to consensus. All of their work will be characterized by insight, interpretation, diligence, persistence, and cooperation.

Join the STELAR’s Joyce Malyn-Smith and ITEST PIs as they discuss the STEM Career Competencies that students should develop in K-8 to set them on a pathway towards success in work at the Human-Technology Frontier.


Part 4: Policy Implications of future work at the Human-Technology Frontier

March 8, 2018 2:00-3:00 pm ET


How are NSF programs laying a foundation for success in work at the Human-Technology Frontier?

The rise of inequality in the labor market is highly challenging, with major consequences to both political and social trends in many societies around the globe. Education and training have long been viewed as important means of enhancing social mobility. The NSF’s commitment to increasing equity in access to the STEM workplace is a good example of efforts to broaden participation in undergraduate and graduate programs, preparing students for immediate transition into the STEM workforce. The ITEST program reflects a concerted effort by the NSF to develop new evidence-based pre-K–12 curricular and programmatic initiatives that optimally may enhance participation of girls and historically marginalized students (e.g.., youth of color and those from low-SES backgrounds) in the STEM educational pipeline.

Join STELAR PI Sarita Pillai and NSF Program Officers as we discuss existing programs that support success at the frontier, and examine key policy levers that can greatly contribute to the development of a robust future STEM workforce, help ensure the well-being  of that workforce, and support and sustain a strong innovation economy for our country.

Register for the Series


Supplementary Links:

Download the white paper from Education Development Center's website

Read an article introducing the paper by STELAR Senior Advisor Joyce Malyn-Smith

Data Visualization Seed Funding Proposal Due

Event date(s): Friday, October 21, 2016

Missouri EPSCoR is releasing its second Missouri Transect Seed Funding Request for Proposals (RFP).  The seed funding program focuses on data visualization and public engagement.  The Intent to Submit Form is due Friday, September 23, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.  The Full Proposal and Budget Form are due Friday, October 21, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.  You must send an Intent to Submit form in order for your full proposal to be considered.  To download the RFP, Letter of Intent, and Budget Form, go to the Seed Funding Announcement.
Please send all correspondence to epscor [at] missouri [dot] edu
RFP Snapshot:

Program Name
The Missouri Transect Seed Funding
Source of Funds
The Missouri Transect Seed Funding is part of the NSF EPSCoR Track-1 Research Infrastructure Improvement program The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community (IIA-1355406).
The Missouri Transect is a five-year effort to build infrastructure, knowledge, and collaborations in research and education across Missouri. The Missouri Transect Seed Funding program supports new research and educational initiatives to leverage new opportunities and emerging areas of research in Data Visualization.
Individuals, independent researchers, and educators at accredited academic institutions and research institutions in Missouri are eligible to apply.  Only projects with research and/or education in areas related to the Missouri Transect’s focus on the effects of climate variability on plants and communities are eligible for Seed Funding. The Strategic Plan for the Missouri Transect can be found at
The anticipated Period of Performance is January 3 – December 29, 2017.
Award Amount and Duration
The total project budget should be a maximum of $50,000 in direct costs over a span of 12 months.

MO DIRT Soil Health Survey Training: Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Event date(s): Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Location: Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center, 5595 Grand Drive in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63112

MO DIRT - Soil Health Survey Training for Master Naturalists - Sedalia

Event date(s): Saturday, September 17, 2016
Location: Sedalia, MO

MO DIRT will offer a soil health survey training to Missouri Master Naturalists during their statewide advanced training event "Where the Ozarks Meet the Prairies." For more information, visit the event page on the MO DIRT website.

Missouri Transect Annual Meeting

Event date(s): Wednesday, September 14, 2016 to Thursday, September 15, 2016
Location: Havener Center, Missouri S&T, Rolla

The second Missouri Transect Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity to collaborate with Missouri Transect researchers from across Missouri and to learn about research and education projects that are enhancing Missouri’s research and development infrastructure, capacity, and competitiveness.  Graduate and undergraduate students who attend will have the opoortunity to submit and present a poster on their research. Their lodging expenses may qualify to be covered by Missouri EPSCoR. The meeting website with online registration is coming soon.

Save the Date:

Wednesday & Thursday, September 14 & 15

Havener Center, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Rolla, Missouri