Monthly Archives: August 2016

Science is also for Women

images-33There’s no denying hard numbers. According to most estimates, men outnumber women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In recent years, there have been concerted efforts to both identify why women are less likely than men to study and pursue STEM subjects and to encourage female interest in STEM fields. Still, in the US women make up just under a quarter of STEM employees while representing nearly half the country’s workforce. And the same applies to countries around the world. In the UK, fewer female STEM graduates go on to work in STEM industries and while more than 40% of British mathematics students are female, only 6% go on to professorships in the field. Even in the Nordic region, where women have impressive parity in the workforce, some female STEM graduates struggle to find job opportunities. And in Asia, only three countries were able to demonstrate equality in the male-to-female ratio of scientific researchers.

Historically, women have been under-represented in the STEM fields, but given the recent efforts made by countries, governments, and educational institutions to rectify the disparities, it seems surprising that women are still so outnumbered in STEM industries. It’s even more surprising when one realizes that STEM fields are prime occupations for female graduates. And here’s why.

Overwhelming support, but little recognition

Governments around the world recognize that the gender gap in STEM fields is no laughing matter. In fact, the lack of women in STEM fields is a major concern for some countries, where women make up a significant part of the workforce, and their absence in STEM fields indicates a pretty hefty loss of revenue. In Scotland, for example, the lack of women in STEM occupations represents more than £150million in income. It’s not surprising then that countries and organizations around the world are working to encourage women to pursue STEM studies and enter the workforce. Mentorship programs are one of the most popular forms of initiatives because many experts believe that women fail to become interested in STEM subjects due to a lack of female role-models in the sector. The Million Women Mentors program (USA) and the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Malaysia are just two of many initiatives aimed at bringing women in STEM fields together. Mobility and retention programs, like the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program and the Science in Australia Gender Equality program, also strive to address the challenges women face in STEM studies and careers. Still, women remain marginalized in specific areas of the STEM sector, and when organizations like the American Chemical Society give out awards, men are disproportionately represented.

Women are in high demand, but don’t realize it

But all these initiatives and encouragement are not without some positive results. In fact, there are indications that the future of women in STEM fields is looking brighter. First, STEM student numbers are not nearly as disparate as the workforce. While men still significantly outnumber women in engineering and computer sciences, most of the other STEM sectors show growing equality, and in some areas, like biology, women outnumber men. And employers want to hire female STEM graduates. Most industries now recognize that diversity is important, and in the STEM sector women represent a much-needed demographic. So why are women still outnumbered by men. Some research suggests that the historical lack of women in STEM fields has created a self-fulfilling prophecy, where women fail to apply for or engage with STEM careers because they believe they will not be considered. But new figures indicate otherwise. In at least one study, researchers found that when employers considered an equally qualified male and female candidates, the female candidate was selected nearly 70% of the time. Other statistics show that companies with female leadership have better investment returns and that diversity in the workplace equals greater employee retention rates.

Job Offer Too Good To Be True

We all know by now that the internet is full of tricks and traps – rich princes, dead uncles, magic pills, and prizes for the millionth visitor are all just gimmicks aimed at emptying our pockets and stealing our identities. But for recent graduates, who often send out dozens, if not hundreds, of job applications using internet sites and applications, it can be difficult to tell the pros from the cons. Scammers are getting more sophisticated by the day, and recent graduates seeking jobs are targets, so here are some rules to follow as you go out into the wild world of job searches.

1. Don’t part with your money or identity

The first rule of thumb for avoiding job scams is that no legitimate organization will every ask you to pay up front for anything. Whether it’s selling knives (they promise you’ll earn back the price of the demo set in a week!) to overseas jobs with six-digit salaries (just send money to cover the visa processing fee), if a job or company wants you to pay before you’ve met in person or read and signed the contract, you should be suspicious. Don’t arrange to send (or receive) money, don’t give out personal information like your social security number or passport details, and don’t agree to send on goods or currency. These are all major red-flags and should tell you that something is not right.

  2. Google EVERYTHING

That’s why you should Google everything, even offers that seem legitimate. Scammers are getting craftier, and many schemes go to extreme measures to look real. Some even use the names or logos of actual companies and firms, but a quick search should reveal the more prominent scams. Visit the website of the legitimate company, check LinkdIn for the recruiter, and Google the email address. You’ll discover the frauds in no time, and if the job is legitimate, you’ll have acquired some good background for the interview. Speaking of websites and emails, remember that real job offers will come from corporate email accounts, not Hotmail or Yahoo accounts, and legitimate corporations will have a solid online footprint.

3. Pick good sources

Remember when you were writing research papers and your professors stressed that it was important to pick good internet sources? Well, the same goes for job searches. If you’re getting desperate to find a job, it might be tempting to reply to that sketchy offer from craigslist, but it’s a better idea to stick with trusted job-seeking sources like LinkdIn, Milkround, Monster, and other well-known sites. Remember that it’s a good sign if the job is listed on multiple sites.

4. Follow the news

Scammers can target anyone, anywhere, but there are areas and populations that are more frequently targeted than others. International students can find themselves victims of scams because they’re more likely to be looking for jobs abroad or remote employment opportunities, and companies in countries that are popular with international job-seekers may be used more frequently as covers to target graduates. If you’re living abroad and looking for a job, keep up-to-date on the news – news organizations are quick to pick up on active scams and will inform the public. If you live in or are seeking a job in an area that has a high rate of scam job schemes, be extra cautious when applying for jobs or responding to offers.

5. It can be too good to be true

In the end, remember that if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Maybe it’s an unsolicited job offer, a job-listing with an outrageous salary offer, a work-from-home position that promises riches, or a highly-skilled position that requires no experience, but if it seems improbable, do a little research. Graduates are rarely contacted if they’ve not applied for a position, and while the internet and global economy are making freelance and remote jobs more lucrative and possible, they’re never ‘easy-money.’ And if you’re still unsure, simply contact the company directly. If it’s a hoax, you’ll suss it out immediately, and if it’s real, you’ll have shown some impressive initiative.

The Smart City of the Future

unduhan-19Last autumn, Paris hosted the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21). The conference, held annually since 1994, marked a united effort by the members to halt climate change. The Paris Agreement will reinforce our commitment to limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C.  COP 22 will take place in Marrakech in 2016.

France has also recently hosted at Versailles in 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition, hosting 20 teams from 16 countries and 3 continents. France hosts this event again in 2016.

Again in 2014, the 21st Century Club invited over 100 industrial leaders from France and China to Bordeaux to collaborate on Smart Cities. The host countries of 2014, 2015 and 2016 are significant because France and Morocco, French-speaking countries, are particularly committed to creating a carbon-neutral economy, leading the way worldwide, in particular in Europe and North Africa.

France, since 2012 has produced over 90% of all electricity from zero-carbon sources hydroelectricity and wind power, and Morocco pledges to do the same by 2030.  Carbon-neutral and green energy are priority in France. Leading the charge are Engineering Schools such as HEI (Hautes Etudes D’Ingénieur). HEI focuses on innovation and specialization based on a core of research and development. HEI graduates have relevant, marketable skills that set them on the path to career success in both traditional and emerging industries.

Smart Cities

HEI offers programs at the cutting edge of developing industrial sectors, like Smart Cities and Sustainable Urban Development. A Master’s of Science and Engineering Smart Cities from HEI gives students the necessary skills and experience for careers today and in the future. But what are Smart Cities, and what sorts of professionals will build them?

Smart Cities are interesting to define because they are by nature, unique to the needs and personalities of individual urban spaces. All Smart Cities have a foundation in their citizens, the city’s processes, infrastructures and technology. Many cities around the world are adopting Smart City initiatives. Urbanization has become so prevalent that it has elevated many cities, like Brussels, Seoul, Bogota, and many more, to be even more important than the countries themselves accounting for over 40 percent of the National GDP. Frost & Sullivan identifies a market potential of $1.5 trillion globally for smart cities in Energy, Transportation, Healthcare, Building, Infrastructure, and Governance.

European Smart Cities like Barcelona, Paris, London, Nice, Amsterdam and Stockholm are Smart City precursors using technology and communications for safer, cleaner, and more intuitive urban spaces. Other cities around the world, in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and in: Korea: Songdo, Seoul, are using Smart City technologies to do everything from monitoring pollution to producing crowd-sourced data models. The Smart Cities Master’s program offered by HEI introduces students to the role of engineering in Smart-City development and gives them the professional skills needed to compete.

Experts predict that major cities like Chicago, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, and San Francisco will be Smart Cities within the next five years, and France is already a leader in Smart-City development.

France is partner with India to transform cities like Nagpur, Chandigarh, and Puducherry, into Smart Cities. The Smart Cities Mission in India has brought Smart City status to 25 different municipalities, the need is so urgent.  Cities like Wuhan and Tianjin in China have joined a massive U.K.-China initiative, pairing with Manchester, Bristol and others.  The 21st Century Club initiated a similar program with leaders from France and China in 2014. Engineers with Smart-City expertise are in high demand everywhere around the world, as more and more cities adopt policies aimed at integrating technology and sustainability.

Get Involved With Alumni Associations

adAdmit it. The first time you got an email from your school’s alumni association asking for a donation, you were a bit taken aback. After four (or more) years of university, you’ve probably written quite a few checks and may have a considerable amount of student debt. Even if you’ve already secured a graduate position, you probably don’t feel financially ready to start donating.

You may think that alumni donations are for rich, successful people who have had time to accrue high flying jobs, pay off mortgages, and start college funds for their own children. But alumni associations aren’t just charitable organizations. Yes, they rely heavily on the gifts of former students, but they also offer former students a wealth of opportunities. Every alumni association is different, so here are just a few of the many reasons to consider joining yours.

1. Networking opportunities

We’ll start with the obvious reason. One of the main purposes of alumni associations is to support a network of former graduates who will, in turn, help to raise the profile of the university. Just like most other university student organizations, alumni associations aim to bring together like-minded individuals. But unlike sororities, fraternities, and other student organizations, alumni programs are open to all graduates and offer a broader networking scope. If you’re heading to graduation in a couple of months or have just finished your degree, joining your school’s alumni association is a good way to get a foot (or three) in the door. Contact your alumni association to see what sort of networking opportunities they offer. Some school’s host job fairs. Others have mentor programs for graduates that pair outgoing students with alumni in similar career fields. And remember that with alumni associations, quality can definitely trump quantity. In fact, many small, private liberal arts colleges have some of the most active and effective alumni associations.

2. Career building tools

One of the things to remember about alumni associations is that they want you to succeed. Of course, they’re hoping that you’ll use your success to help the association and university, but successful graduates are a university’s best asset. It’s no surprise then that most alumni associations offer a variety of career services. These can be anything from the aforementioned job fairs to things like resume workshops, job postings, and online resources for job-seekers. And most of these services are offered free of charge to alumni members. Remember the mentor programs we mentioned? These can be great tools for building your career or finding ways to maximize your earning potential.

3. Benefits

But alumni associations aren’t just about jobs and recruiting new students. When you were a student at your university, you were part of a community that offered all sorts of exciting perks – free concerts, student discounts, poetry readings, art exhibits, library access, sporting events, and numerous other things that made your university unique and dynamic. And university alumni associations understand that even after graduation, many students continue to feel connected to their university, or associate a part of their identity with the institution. That’s why many alumni associations continue to offer former students ways to keep their connection with the university. Many associations host special alumni social events, and others give members free tickets to university sporting events, life-time email services, insurance and banking services, and, of course, discounts. You might expect that alumni would get discounted university merchandise, but alumni associations often offer discounts on other things like hotels, rental cars, restaurants, and other services around the world.

4. Give back

But remember that your university provided you with numerous educational opportunities and that your alumni association isn’t just about discounts and job offers. Whether you know it or not, your school’s alumni association was probably instrumental in your success, and while most universities hope that their students’ successes post-graduation will promote the school’s reputation and encourage others to consider matriculation, one of the main purposes of alumni associations is to recruit new students. Plus, alumni associations are great resources for incoming students – many award scholarships (funded by donations from alumni) and the strength of a school’s alumni association can be a deciding factor for incoming students. And alumni associations aren’t just for domestic students. Many universities with aspiring international programs depend on their alumni to spread the word, and alumni recommendations carry a lot of weight with prospective students. So whether you sign up for membership, send a generous donation, or offer to serve as a mentor, there are many ways that your alumni association will help you help your school.

So, if you’re looking for a way to maximize the potential of your degree and give back to your university at the same time (while maintaining access to that all-important Home v. Rival football