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madmadmurrell

2009-10 NFHS Topic Selection Meeting, Live From Austin!

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Of course we both agree that STEM is both vital and lacking. And of course there are still people working in STEM jobs. But there are less and less in the vital areas of STEM, such as R&D.

 

But you very much downplay the financial reward aspect. In hindsight, were I to start college all over at the age of 18, I would not go into engineering or science. I stick with it because I am good at it and it makes me happy... and more importantly because changing directions would cost me even more time and money which I would again never recoop. I know that further down the road, unless I get into upper management, the cost of my degree will simply not pay off. There is something very, very wrong when a $200K doctorate doesn't produce dividends for 25 years.

 

Its plain and simple - if we want more engineers and scientists, we need to create incentives for that. For example,

 

  • Forgive all federal student loans (undergrad and grad-level perkins, stafford, grad plus) for students completing a masters degree or higher in STEM fields at an accredited university.
  • Restructure public school education systems to reflect the need. It shouldnt be 4 credits of english and history and just 3 credits of math and science.
  • Substantially increase the availability of government grants earmarked for STEM R&D, with a particular emphasis on academic and small-business grants and loans to stimulate competition (as it would be in the case of your intern).

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Hmmm..I'm going to discuss your proposals with the STEM experts here at work...they are in a position to actually take your proposals and run with them...AIAA is a big proponent of increasing the number of engineers in Aerospace!!:)

 

I'm going to walk down the hall and see the if the salary survey results we have are still embargoed...

 

Duane

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For corporate America, private industry, its even easier .... and more common....

 

 

 

Lets say that the AIAA annually endowed Penn State's aerospace engineering program with fifty loan repayment grants with a committment to work for the AIAA for a period of one year for each year a grant was provided.

 

You'll get a higher caliber aersopace engineer because the students will need to compete heavily for the grant, and thus work harder, learn more and take a more rigorous classes etc.

 

Students who were considering other fields may think about either switching to aerospace or picking up an aerospace dual degree because not having to spend a minimum of 60K in tuition is very enticing.

 

To sweeten the pot, If a student commits to Penn State's dual undergrad-master's 5-year program, and it is completed, all loans (previously stated) are forgiven in exchange for employment service of six years.

 

Early departure from the employment contract requires repayment of the loans.

 

Its a standard program really.... and its generally quite successful because you allow a limited number of people into the program and you pick and choose the ones you believe will be most successful and productive. You lock them up for at least 4 to 6 years and unless you screw them over during that time, they wont all instantly defect after 6 years... so you get labor pool stability and a higher quality pool of labor. No brainer to me.

Edited by Ankur

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Welll..we already give several thousand dollars in scholarships each year - we give 30 scholarships each year ($2,500.00 each - not a lot, but that's what our funding allows) to undergraduates, and graduate awards, in various fields, from $5k to 10K per year.

 

Nobody would want to work for AIAA..we are non-profit, educational insitute devoted to promoting areospace issues - we want them to take our money and work in industry.

 

I'm tring to get the recent salary survey we did so I can discuss salaries in aerospace

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This is completely off topic, but could some one explain who gets to participate in this meeting? I'm the current President-Elect of Wisconsin Debate Coaches association. Could I attend the process next year?

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Welll..we already give several thousand dollars in scholarships each year - we give 30 scholarships each year ($2,500.00 each - not a lot, but that's what our funding allows) to undergraduates, and graduate awards, in various fields, from $5k to 10K per year.

 

Nobody would want to work for AIAA..we are non-profit, educational insitute devoted to promoting areospace issues - we want them to take our money and work in industry.

 

I'm tring to get the recent salary survey we did so I can discuss salaries in aerospace

 

Several thousand isnt even a scratch or a dent in the total cost. It doesnt mean anything until numerous full scholarships are available largely because the potential award generally doesnt cover the true cost of the applications. Lets pretend that there are fifty $2500 scholarships out for which I qualify. Lets also posit that it takes me an average of 6 hours per application to write the essay, proof it, finalize it, fill out application, etc. So thats 300 hours I put into it. I have no guarantee of getting ANY of those scholarships, but lets say I received one of them. So I get $2500. But you need to remember to subtract the cost of my time. Lets say I could have worked in a professor's lab for that period of time at $10 an hour. That means I would have gotten experience in the lab doing something for my resume while making $500 more money than I got in a scholarship. It wouldnt make any sense.

 

Dont get me wrong, I am sure that the scholarship winners are very grateful... but you wont see an influx of people into the industry until the scholarships are extremely large awards and in greater numbers. Both will serve to bring in a bigger better pool of applications due to the raised visibility.

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Well..Ankur..if you can figure out how we can raise our operating budget to the level needed to bestow free rides, we're all ears. Until that point...we have to do what we can (trust me, we'd give free rides if we could.) (the $2,500 are renewable each year - so that's really a $7,500 award - not much, probably just books for 2 or 3 classes, but still good.) The graduate awards are awards, not scholarship, given for outstanding research in a graduate field - they are non-renewable..along with the award, the student also gets to present their research at one of our academic conferences (the conference which matches their research area.)

 

I checked, and this is very non-official, average starting salary for the aerospace industry (non-government) is in the 50 - 60 k range with a 5 - 10 K signing bonus, again - very unofficial. Probably not great, but not peanut feed either - a lot of people going into law and medicine make about the same their first year (or less, depending what they are going into.)

 

And..why can't you work in a lab AND fill out a scholarship application? In fact..the majority of our winners do work in R&D type capacities in labs, and such.

 

So..essentially you've said, just so I can follow you, is that kids shouldn't puruse STEM because it doesn't pay.....what about love of the art or the industry - most of the people I talk to, who work in aerospace, fell in "love" with the idea of flight and space exploration as kids, or as teens and they want to work in the industry because they love it, not because of the pay (although pay is, of course, something to think about.) I don't know...if money is your sole motivator, then you're going to lead a very weird life.

 

I suspect kids aren't purusing STEM because, well - math and science are demanding majors which suck up a lot of time...time that people can spend pursuing other options in college.

Edited by hylanddd

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Students and teachers in the San Diego area should take avantage of the Space 2008 Conference being held at the San Diego Convention Center, September 9 - 11, 2008. The theme of this year's conference is "Future Space: National Priorities, Critical Decisions."

 

Attendance for high school students is $30.00 for the conference, and includes admission to the exibit hall. Admission is free if you are an AIAA member, and since the event offers an "Education Alley" your school might already be attending.

 

The Conference will give attendees a look at the role that Space is expected to play in national security, what the DoD will need to do to leverage space for national defense, how NASA, NOAA and the USGS will implement the global earth observation system, what will the next decade of exploration hold, what are the challenges for commercial space, how can the government better support foundational technologies, and what are the policy and regulatory issues which must be addressed to facilitate future international collaboration on space.

 

In short - Space 2008 is a conference on why we should be debating space in 2009, and if you go to the sessions, you end up with a topic lecture that will be given by your future solvency authors!!:) Conference proceedings are normally available about 8 weeks after the conference and are $150.00 - not a bad investement for debating the topic.

 

If anyone is interested in attending Space, let me know...given the topic area list, this year's conference (and next year's) are unique oppurtunities.

 

H.

Edited by hylanddd

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This is completely off topic, but could some one explain who gets to participate in this meeting? I'm the current President-Elect of Wisconsin Debate Coaches association. Could I attend the process next year?

 

Well, there are several routes to this meeting. You can attend as an observer, which means that you do get to participate in some deliberations and attend the meetings. Or you can try to become your state rep to the meeting. Or you can try to become a rep from the NFL, NDCA or other organization. Or you can write a paper and attend the meeting to present it. Info on the meeting is on the National Federation of State High School Associations website.

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They are trying to keep this process open and transparent for those of us who can't make the meeting. Thanks! We appreciate it. Next yera, the meeting should be streamed.

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Guest cjiron
prisons looks pretty awesome.

why would prisons be awesome? its almost as bad as presidential reform.

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Biopower.

 

God knows it's impossible to find links for that on any topic that doesn't deal with prisons.

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Thanks for the blogging updates.

 

I am sad it isn't prisons.

 

If it is space, I call dibbs on the Wall-E K. For real, already have it mapped it out.

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I think federal election reform won't be too terrible.

 

I mean at least we'd get to debate the courts. Though, it'd be nice if it was on something other than Federal elections.

 

I'm backing Space and Federal Election Reform.

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This is completely off topic, but could some one explain who gets to participate in this meeting? I'm the current President-Elect of Wisconsin Debate Coaches association. Could I attend the process next year?

 

Marcus' explanation is spot on. I'd like to flesh out a couple of additional things.

 

1) As Marcus says, ANYONE can attend and participate in the meeting. All you have to do is register with the NFHS by the deadline (usually around July 1st) and take care of your travel and accommodation expenses. For example, next year's meeting is in Niagara Falls, New York, which means that as long as you register and foot the cost for attending, you're there. Everyone in attendance can participate in almost every step of the process besides the final voting on Sunday. Since the meeting runs as a committee-of-the-whole most of the time, any attendee's vote counts as much as anyone else's. In addition, there is a one hour "new attendees" session every year on Friday morning that is a great orientation to the process.

 

2) Each state gets one vote when determining what goes on the final ballot of five. Since the NFHS is in charge of the process, they determine who the voting delegate for each state is typically by empowering that state's activities association to choose the delegate. How states choose that delegate varies. For example, in Texas, the officially recognized activities association is the University Interscholastic League. Since they have a Director of Speech and Debate in the Academic Department, she serves as our state's official delegate every year. Additional states like Kansas also use a representative from the activities association. Other state associations nominate or choose a coach to represent their state.

 

As far as I understand it, typically it is the official activities association, and not a coach's association, that is empowered at the state level. Again, in Texas, we have the UIL, which is the official public activities association. We also have the Texas Forensics Association, which hosts individual tournaments and a separate state tournament, but allows open enrollment so private schools can join as well. In Texas, UIL gets the voting delegate. I'm not sure what organization is the organization of record for Wisconsin, but I can tell you who Wisconsin's voting delegate this year was if you want to email me or send me a private message here.

 

In addition to each state getting a vote, the NFHS gives one vote to each of three national organizations - the NFL, the NDCA, and the NCFL. Scott Wunn represents the NFL and historically an officer of the NDCA and the NCFL represents them respectively.

 

Typically, 25-30 state delegates attend the meeting, with 25-40 more people, including the authors and the Wording Committee.

 

3) The route of attending as an author offers few perks unless you can get your state organization or high school to pick up the tab. For example, I will be personally funding my trip to Niagara Falls next August even though I'll be writing a paper. For anyone interested in writing a topic paper, I STRONGLY urge them to attend and participate in a meeting before writing a paper. Representing and defending a topic, even for the most intelligent person, is a process that does not even remotely resemble anything else in this activity. My first meeting was in Minnesota, the year before I defended my first paper in Little Rock. Attending the meeting in Minnesota VASTLY changed how I wrote and approached the topic. There's just no substitute.

 

 

 

Thanks to Matt and Stefan. They are trying to keep this process open and transparent for those of us who can't make the meeting. Thanks! We appreciate it. Next year, the meeting should be streamed.

 

Thanks for the blogging updates.

 

I appreciate the thank you's. I already have plans to step up this process with a live chat room (especially for the Saturday discussions) and some video blogging. I've thought about streaming and that may be incredibly difficult both technically (most of the meeting is a wide open discussion and capturing all the sound would be a nightmare) and temporally (on Friday there's four meetings going on at once).

 

What I've envisioned is recording things like the four minute author summaries on Friday, some of the general sessions discussion on Saturday, the voting on Sunday, and doing things like interviewing topic authors to get their insight (looking forward to interviewing myself) and other attendees so that they can express concern or discuss key points like word choices or topic balance. It would be pretty easy to get videos edited soon after they're shot and put them up on YouTube with links in the live updates here on Cross-X and over at Planet Debate. I'll see what I can work out; I have about eleven months to figure it out.

 

I think it's vital to keep this process as transparent as possible and I've been fortunate to be able to attend the meetings for four years in a row. Anything that I can do to aid the transparency, I will. It's actually starting to take root as well; like I've said in other posts, people were actually turning to me during the meeting asking what was being posted on Cross-X.

Edited by madmadmurrell

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I'm wondering if someone can explain the great cry for transparency in the process - the process has always been transparent -I've come to three topic meetings since the turn of the decade (Savanah (sic), Denver, and Minneapolis) and the process has always been the same one described above..why the implications that it wasn't transparent but now it is?

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I'm wondering if someone can explain the great cry for transparency in the process - the process has always been transparent -I've come to three topic meetings since the turn of the decade (Savanah (sic), Denver, and Minneapolis) and the process has always been the same one described above..why the implications that it wasn't transparent but now it is?

 

I think maybe levels of transparency? It isn't that it isn't transparent if you are there, but that for those of us not there, it is mostly opaque. This live blogging the meeting is actually really useful.

 

I would guess that's what people mean.

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Duane,

 

I think people believe there isnt transparency because they dont know where to go to find information on the subject... It would be fairly beneficial to have an annual one-page description of the process in the Rostrum, for example. Even iof the process is described on the NFHS website (I havent checked), the last time I visited the site (probably a year or two ago by now), I found it somewhat annoying to navigate and information wasnt presented well. I dont think the NFHS makes a concerned attempt at making the process well known to the population is serves.

 

So their claims of a lack of transparency arent quite true, and its a case of mischaracterization... however, I wouldnt disagree with a statement that NFHS doesnt communicate all that well....

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Ah..thanks for clearing that up. I didnt' realize that in the past nobody was reporting out. I know I would list the topics to CX as soon as the meeting was done, but I didn't realize that there wasn't another, ongoing reporting process.

 

And..yes..I've found the NFHS site incredibly frustrating.

 

I urge everyone to write papers and get involved, often your state rep slot goes unfilled - I simply had to call my state's activity office and volunteer to be the rep - they had 0 problem with it (providing I paid the bills..lol...which arent' really cheap for a weekend away). The process needs coaches from all "walks" of debate life - the national circuit powerhouse coach and the coach with the more casual approach, or tiny program, both have equal footing in the ability to present and debate the topics....the more voices the better.

 

H.

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6. Federal Election Reform: Unchanged

*The author argues that talking about voting demographics would be fun. He then steals my comment that it's not sexy, but it would be good.

*There is agreement that the wording is the best wording the wording committee has ever created to deal with this.

*Allowing the aff to cleanly run a Constitutional amendment 1AC is good.

*Some negative comments include the fact that there's a low number of "traditional" body-count style harms, and it would be more difficult to debate because of that. There's a list of harms given by advocates like international demo, modeling, Bush v. Gore stuff, etc.

*The author argues that this topic is good because it potentially gives some "value" type philosophical issues that would lead to positive and refreshing changes in debate for a year.

I think federal election reform is a great topic for people to learn about. I think things like the Voting Rights Act, the EAC and other issues need to be incorporated into the debate vernacular.

 

From a competitive standpoint, however, this topic might create bizarre results. Given that there are no traditional advantage areas, affirmatives might go small. Like really small. Because of Section 5 preclearance requirements, an aff can have the Attorney General allow electronic voting machines in the affirmative team's home town (like Denver County, for example). It'd be federal action, small enough that it avoids all the major bodycount disads, and yet would probably have a solid solvency literature base from local newspapers.

 

Teams that want to go big on the aff side most likely would take on gerrymandering or campaign finance- the gerrymandering cases have a fiat hurdle in that re-districting occurs every 10 years based on the new census demographics...so I'm not sure how the aff can handle the rollback arguments and preserve their advantage claims.

 

Hopefully, the people discussing the topics can figure out ways to balance the topic a bit so it can meet the competitive requirements of debate.

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One question..what were the straw-ballot areas for next year?

 

We're waiting to get those results emailed to us as they were read quickly at the end of the meeting... but I do know that the top 5 were China (Human Rights), Overseas Troop Deployment, Russia, China (Economics), and Latin America (unsure on that last one, but Latin America was still incredibly high). I know that all of those topics are spoken for by potential authors as well. I also know that Cuba and Central Asia are spoken for as well.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with that part of the process, after everything is said and done on Sunday and we have the ballot of five, we create a list of potential topics for next year and then take a straw vote of everyone in the room to see if a topic has legs. Everyone in the room can vote as many times as they want. Typically there's a list of around thirty to forty topics. The vote isn't binding and isn't 100% predictive of what will get written for next year's meeting - usually the NFHS tries to make sure the top four or five in the straw vote get written but won't stop an author from writing a paper that isn't "popular" in that initial straw vote. Space would be a great example - it didn't do well in the straw vote last year, but the author wanted to write it, and bam, it's on the ballot.

 

RE: Transparency

 

I'll echo the comments above and additionally say that after the search and seizure debacle, there was an enormous outcry from the community on this board and in other places that the decision-making was led by elites in a smoke filled room. As one of the people that was part of the process of changing the wording, I thought it hilarious that someone would think I was an evil, backroom-dealing maniac with power.

 

Then I thought about the process. I didn't know a thing about the meeting before I went, and everyone else that posted here is right - the NFHS website is a maze. Even for enterprising folks, without some guidance, it isn't readily apparent how we select topics. So, I decided to use the resources at my disposal and type up what's going on at the meeting because I think there's a lot of people in the community that either can't make the meeting or don't have any clue that there is a meeting.

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What is straw ballot areas? Just ideas kicked around as potentials for the following years? Can more than 1 person/team of people write a paper on the same topic area?

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Oh good..I'm glad someone is writing Cuba...it placed 3rd in the national vote the year I wrote it, I hope the next author will be able to place it 1st!!:) I'll be curious to see the straw topics.

 

Ankur - that's exactly what they are, potential problem areas from which topic papers can be written. And yes, you can have one author, or several. I was co-author on Air Transportation Safety (we didn't make the cut in '03), and on Higher Education in '05 (which placed 3rd in the national voting.) We'll probably bring Higher Ed back in '10 with a focus on STEM - if you want to write that with us (that is, Bert and I.) or, I might bring back Air Transportation Safety/Security again....it's a vital issue which would make for good debate.

 

Matthew: I think Search/Seizure was the one meeting I missed...I think.....but no..I don't recall any smoke at any meetings...lol...and the rooms were quite large..

Edited by hylanddd

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