Straight Talk about Manufacturing Careers

Daniel Dossett prepping for the WorldSkills Manufacturing Team Challenge competition. Read more about his on

My work with Alcoa Foundation and SkillsUSA has been eye-opening. If you’ve seen me IRL recently, there’s a good chance we’ve had a talk about CTE, Career and Technical Education (formerly known as vocational ed). Not only did my experience at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference challenge some of my previous assumptions, but as you’ll see in the infographic below, I’m not alone in my thinking. A New Look at Manufacturing ... [ Read More ]

The Chicago Southside Mini Maker Faire is Coming

Chicago Southside Mini Maker Faire

Save the date! The Chicago Southside Mini Maker Faire is taking place on Saturday, August 8 from 11 to 5 at the Ford City Mall (7601 S Cicero Ave) in Chicago. As with the Northside Mini Maker Faire, the organizers of Chicago Southside Faire are committed to opening the Faire to the public at no cost. Donations are welcome and very much appreciated, however. The family-friendly festival is a "family-friendly festival of invention and ... [ Read More ]


Welcome to the Neighborwood and other newish books for kids reviewed on

Every once in a while, I write a 90% of a post, only to have it linger in my drafts until it's buried. So anyhoo, here are a few noteworthy new somewhat recent titles that have been sitting on my desk that are on my bookshelf. These books were sent to me for review; this post contains affiliate links. Newish Books for Kids Just in time for Earth Day (when I started writing this post) Welcome to the Neighborwood, is a new book from Candlewick ... [ Read More ]

My Moment(s) in the Spotlight

It's been a busy week and I'm working my way toward the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Earlier this week I stopped over for a visit with the (very tall) anchors at Chicago's nationally-syndicated WGN Morning News. As part of my relationship with team at PURELL Hand Sanitizer, I shared 4 fun summer science activities. I don't have an embed code just yet, so click over there to watch and try them at home. Yesterday, Google held their ... [ Read More ]

STEM at Work in Manufacturing: July STEMchat Summary

STEM jobs

Thanks to sponsors SkillsUSA and Alcoa Foundation we had a great discussion of STEM at Work: the Role of STEM in Manufacturing and Technical Careers. Take look below at some of the highlights! In your opinion, what is a STEM job and why are STEM jobs important? Our discussion echoed the larger conversation taking place among economists, government and industry leaders. Some broadly define STEM jobs as any job with a STEM connection, while ... [ Read More ]

Candy Construction Challenge

Candy Construction Challenge, a STEM snacktivity from

The Candy Construction Challenge is what one of my friends refers to as a snacktivity. Snacktivities combine the best of all worlds: playing, learning, and eating. The Candy Construction Challenge is super easy and provides many ways to learn and play. And it's a fun way to prevent the summer slide. The idea is to have kids explore math and engineering concepts with toothpicks and candy. I'll share a few of my favorite ways to play. This is ... [ Read More ]

ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 Review + Giveaway

ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 reviewed on

My oldest son is just weeks away from starting his senior year of high school. My baby is starting his senior year, people! {pause to collect myself} When he was a freshman, he received his own computer, an Asus netbook. What's a netbook you ask? Nobody remembers. They're already obsolete, but Asus is alive and kicking. In fact, they just released the ASUS Chromebook Flip C100. A sleek, lightweight, and highly portable computer that's perfect for ... [ Read More ]