SIUE and USTRANSCOM Extend STEM Education Partnership

Edwardsville, Ill. (PRWEB) September 16, 2014

U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have refreshed their initial partnership to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for the local 10-county Illinois region.

The organizations signed a second three-year Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2014, which enables USTRANSCOM, other military organizations at Scott AFB and SIUE to mutually benefit from the partnership.

Through the EPA, the partners support STEM activities through volunteers, donation of STEM-focused equipment and collaboration. The SIUE STEM Resource Center has received items from the base including computers and laboratory equipment, which are now available for local K-12 schools to use in technically focused classes.

The Scott AFB STEM program engages in a wide variety of activities to encourage our youth to be excited about STEM and consider careers in those disciplines, said Dr. Donald Erbschloe, chief scientist of Air Mobility Command and leader of the Scott AFB STEM program. STEM activities introduce children in their early school years to technical fields that are also interesting, and sustain and encourage their interest through high school and beyond.

The partnership with Scott AFB, through US Transportation Command and the leadership of Dr. Erbschloe, remains a successful collaboration for delivering STEM knowledge and experiences throughout southwest Illinois, said Dr. Jerry Weinberg, SIUE associate provost for research, dean of the Graduate School. We welcome the next three-year partnership as a way to build upon our first successes in providing STEM equipment and activities for our local population.

USTRANSCOMs donations of STEM equipment have significantly increased the number of students participating in hands-on STEM activities in the region, said Dr. Sharon Locke, director of the SIUE STEM Center. The donation of 12 robotics kits enabled us to support engineering instruction for 400 elementary and middle school students during summer 2014 alone. Because the kits are available for loan to any educator in the region, including local community groups, the impact is multiplied over many years.

We estimate that more than 4,000 students have used USTRANSCOM-donated equipment during the past three years of the partnership. Additionally, 5,000 educators have searched the STEM Centers online inventory developed with resources from USTRANSCOM. Through the online system, educators are able to browse our collection of STEM materials and find items to borrow at no cost to support their classroom and out-of-school instruction.

The Resource Center helps individual teachers at all levels as well as scout groups, home-school parents, and other youth leaders by giving them the tools they need to teach STEM in a fun and engaging manner. The USTRANSCOM-SIUE partnership has greatly expanded our reach into rural and urban communities.

Providing equipment via SIUE to the area is just one area of cooperation for the bases STEM program, Erbschloe added. We also work with organizations such as the Illinois Math and Science Academy, FIRST Robotics and directly with local schools to provide mentors, volunteers and encouragement for our youth to consider STEM as a lifelong interest and as a career.

A robust population of technically-proficient young citizens is important to not only the future Department of Defense (DOD) but to our entire economy. The DOD itself recognized this importance several years ago and created the National Defense Education Program (NDEP), which provides resources across the nation, focused on areas near military installations. Scott AFB has a wealth of experts in the STEM professions and is especially well-positioned to work with our neighboring educational partners and students.

The STEM program is truly an investment in our future, Scott AFBs 375th Air Mobility Wing Schools Liaison Officer Dr. Cindy Doil said. Schooling, either in our formal institutions or in the home, shapes the interests and lifetime activities of our youth. Exposing them to the excitement and reward of STEM at the right time and encouraging our young people to go after careers in these areas is beneficial to society and to the individual as well.

Scott AFB has teamed up to promote STEM in many ways, including through SIUE. We will continue to seek opportunities to help our region. Examples of these collaborations are summer camps which teach youth how to build hovercraft and understand the science behind their operation, the science behind games, science in the health fields and robotics.

For more information and opportunities to work with Scott AFB and SIUE on STEM activities, contact Air Mobility Command Public Affairs at (618) 229-7843.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi Rivers rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

Sustainable Building Materials Innovator, Watershed Materials, Selected as a Finalist for SXSW Eco Startup Showcase Competition

Napa, California (PRWEB) August 26, 2014

Watershed Materials, a sustainable masonry products manufacturer, was selected as a finalist in the Greentech category for SXSW Ecos entrepreneurial pitch competition, the Startup Showcase, taking place on October 6-7, 2014 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX.

Watershed Materials was chosen as a finalist in the SXSW Eco entrepreneurial pitch competition based on its cutting-edge approach to solving one of the building industrys largest environmental problemsthe huge CO2 footprint of concrete blocks. Tens of billions of concrete blocks are produced every year for millions of residential and commercial projects. The principle ingredient of concrete blocks is cement, a material with such a high carbon footprint that it alone is responsible for 6% of all CO2 emissions. Sustainability aside, concrete blocks fail to trigger positive aesthetic responses from architects and users.

Watershed Materials presents a solution to these problemsbeautiful and versatile masonry units manufactured from crushed rock, earth, recycled concrete, and a host of other inexpensive raw materials. Watershed Materials first generation product, the Watershed Block, was designed as a direct replacement for the industry standard concrete block, while offering distinct improvements including less cement, less transportation, higher LEED ratings, lowered carbon footprint, and the look of natural stone. Watershed Block can be produced anywhere in the world from an infinite range of soil, crushed rock, or even demolished buildings.

The first home built entirely of Watershed Block in Napa, California sustained no structural damage during the recent magnitude 6.0 earthquake centered just miles from the homes location. Not only did the home survive the earthquake with no structural damage, there was no damage to any of the contents inside the home during the areas strongest earthquake in over twenty years.

The technology builds on decades of experience with Rammed Earth. In nature, rock is produced as pressure accumulates and loose soil grains are fused together into solid stone. Watershed Materials has developed a manufacturing technology that mimics this natural process in a factory environment by applying intense pressure to special soil blends consisting of natural clays and other minerals. The process produces dependable structural block with the strength and durability of concrete and with 65% less embodied energy. With support of the National Science Foundation, Watershed Materials is researching and developing the technology to produce beautiful structural masonry block with zero cement.

Ive spent 35 years launching technologies to improve the buildings we live in. Watershed Materials is the best yet, says president David Easton. Were building something beautiful and resource conserving, and architects are loving it.

The SXSW Eco Startup Showcase, now in its third year, is a rapid-fire pitch competition spotlighting innovative early stage companies in the areas of greentech, cleanweb, and social impact. Finalists in these categories were selected out of a pool of hundreds of applicants from around the world, and will compete at SXSW Eco in front of a live audience and panel of judges from companies the likes of Target, Shell Technology Ventures, the Whole Planet Foundation, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Sprint. In the past two years, participating companies have gone on to raise over $ 27M in funding and acquire global brands as clients.

The emcee for the Greentech category will be Mitch Jacobson, Co-director at ATI Clean Energy Incubator and CleanTX Foundation. Judges will include Farshid Arman (Siemens Technology to Business Center); Daniel Carter (Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures); Dawn Lippert (Energy Excelerator); Rebecca Taylor (Shell Technology Ventures), and Dan Watkins, PhD (Mercury Fund).

About Watershed Materials:

Watershed Materials LLC was founded in 2011 to develop technologies and formulations for reducing cement use in masonry products. Co-founders are David Easton, 35-year career pioneering earth building systems with BS from Stanfords 1970 School of Product Design; Joe Dahmen, professor of architecture at the University of British Columbia who formerly researched sustainable alternatives to concrete at MIT; and Dr. Jose Mu

Provocative Beijing Rockers Second Hand Rose to Play NYC, DC, Philly, Boston

New York, NY (PRWEB) August 21, 2014

Today, Beijing band Second Hand Rose announces their Useless Rock tour of the East Coast with stops in New York, Boston, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. The tour will kick off following their performance at the Modern Sky Festival being held on October 4-5 in Rumsey field in NYC’s Central Park.

Useless Rock Tour 2014

Tuesday, October 7 at Cafe 939, Boston, MA
Wednesday, October 8 Useless Rock Press Conference, 310 E. 44th Street, New York, NY
Thursday, October 9 “Useless Rock and Chinese Communist Party Sponsorship” lecture at the China Institute, New York, NY
Friday, October 10 at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC
Sunday, October 12 Fashion launch hosted by Hip Hop USA, venue TBA, New York, NY
Wednesday, October 15 at Hard Rock Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, October 19 at Webster Hall, New York, NY

To fund their travels, the band set up a crowdfunding campaign through PledgeMusic ( Fans can pre-purchase tickets to any of the club shows or pick up items from the band’s clothing line, Red & Green. The patterns are designed by Liang Long and based the classic floral prints of northeastern China, instantly recognizable throughout the country for the red-and-green color combinations that are considered overly garish in traditional Chinese painting. Additional clothing created in collaboration with Hip Hop USA and featuring Second Hand Rose’s signature motifs will be unveiled at an event on October 12.

Back in 2000, singer Liang Long and suona (a wind instrument) player Wu Zekun burst onto Beijing’s underground music scene with a performance style that’s part cabaret, part Chinese theater, and part rock ‘n’ roll dance party. The band eventually filled out to a six-piece and set itself apart from its peers with live shows that have something in common with the tongue-in-cheek provocation of bands like the New York Dolls and the Japanese style of Visual Kei: Liang is known to perform in partial drag, at times a nod to the Shanghai glamour girls of the 1930s or taking on the aspect of a Peoples Liberation Army general in lipstick, while guitarist Yao Lan regularly strips down to his underwear before taking the stage.

The shows also feature elements of Peking Opera, folk tunes, and especially a stage tradition from China’s northeast called Two Taking Turns, a playful, sexually charged form of verbal sparring between a male jester and female beauty, though in the case of Second Hand Rose, Liang Long takes on both male and female roles.

The name Second Hand Rose comes from the notion that rock in China is a secondhand and imported endeavoras such, the band’s song “Leading a Dabbling Life” devolves into a Chinese sing-along version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” After more than a decade of winning over new fans around the country, earlier this year, Second Hand Rose played for a crowd of over 30,000 at the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing, and last year they headlined a concert in Beijing’s state-owned Workers’ Gymnasium, one of the most prestigious venues in the country.

Second Hand Rose links:





For more information, please contact Jennifer Conrad



Whole Leaf Tea Company, The Tea Spot, Launches Tea Sachet Samplers to Expand Line of Premium Tea Bags and Tea Gifts Online

Boulder, CO (PRWEB) August 28, 2014

The Tea Spot introduces today a new line of premium Tea Samplers featuring their full leaf tea sachets. The four samplers each contain four mini tea tins with four biodegradable pyramid sachets inside each tin. The resulting set of sixteen premium tea bags in each tea sampler provides customers premium full leaf teas in a convenient and easily portable format with cute gift packaging. These sampler sets are an easy way to sample some of The Tea Spots top-selling handcrafted full leaf teas in single-serving eco-pyramid tea sachets. The tea sachet samplers are elegantly packaged to offer as tea gifts, wedding favors, or to simply take along while traveling.

The Tea Spot extended its focus on making fresh premium tea a convenient everyday luxury, by making it available in single-serving pyramid sachets. Maria Uspenski, the companys CEO stated that We had many requests to make our handcrafted loose leaf teas even more convenient, without compromising on the taste or quality of the leaves. As soon as we were able to do this in a generously-portioned full leaf and eco-friendly format, we launched our ten best-selling teas in biodegradable pyramid tea sachets.

The Tea Spot’s selection of premium tea sachet samplers features four different collections:

For Tea Spot super fans, the companys top-selling handcrafted gourmet teas make up the Signature Sachet Sampler. This sampler includes a variety of unique tea blends in four mini tea tins: Bolder Breakfast, Pu-erh and black tea blended with chocolate; Earl of Grey, a sweet vanilla twist on the traditional bergamot black tea; Boulder Blues, green tea with strawberry and rhubarb flavoring; and Meditative Mind, white tea sprinkled with rosebuds and jasmine pearls.

For traditional tea purists, the Organic Tea Sachet Sampler features four single-estate full leaf teas: Assam, a single-estate organic black tea from Indias Assam valley; Sencha, a traditional Japanese-style steamed organic green tea; Clouds & Mist, an organic Chinese green tea, known as Yunwu, grown at high-altitude; and Monkey-Picked White, a single estate organic white tea from Chinas Fujian province.

The Tea Spots Green Tea Sachet Sampler was designed for people seeking the benefits of green tea or perhaps an added metabolic boost for weight loss. It includes the companys top-selling signature and certified organic green teas: Boulder Blues, green tea with strawberry and rhubarb flavoring; Meditative Mind, white tea sprinkled with rosebuds and green jasmine pearls; Organic Sencha, a traditional Japanese-style steamed green tea; and Organic Clouds & Mist, a Chinese green tea grown at high-altitude.

For lovers of sweets, or those looking for a sugar-free and calorie-free indulgence, The Tea Spot put together a Dessert Tea Sachet Sampler, which includes oolong tea, black tea, puerh tea and hibiscus tea. The four featured teas in this collection are: Coconut Cabana, a premium milky oolong blended with shaved coconut; Earl of Grey, a sweet vanilla twist on the traditional bergamot black tea; Bolder Breakfast, Pu-erh and black tea blended with chocolate; and Big Chill, a caffeine-free herbal blend of hibiscus petals with licorice root and peppermint.

Each tea sachet sampler retails for $ 22.95. They are available exclusively at The Tea Spots online tea shop,, beginning today.


About the Tea Spot: The Tea Spot is a leading producer of handcrafted loose leaf teas and creator of Steepware

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Beach Besties at Costa dEste Beach Resort & Spa, A Girl’s Getaway to Remember

Vero Beach, Florida (PRWEB) August 27, 2014

With the kids back in school and winter right around the corner, timing has never been better for a girlfriend getaway. A stylish and safe, seaside retreat, the AAA four-diamond and recipient of the 2014 TripAdvisor Award of Excellence, Costa dEste Beach Resort & Spa offers a chance to reconnect with BFFs and re-energize the body and spirit with their girlfriends getaway, Beach Besties.

The Beach Besties getaway includes a $ 250 credit, per room, per stay; lunch beachfront, at the Cabana Pool Bar or at the resorts signature restaurant, The Wave Kitchen & Bar, including one appetizer and two entrees; Beach Set-Up: