Science & Technology
Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) hosting Quad Cities FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) Regional Qualifier Tournament for Grades 7-12 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Christine Cournoyer   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 12:12

On Saturday, February 8, 2014, the 3rd Annual Quad Cities FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) regional qualifier will be held at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa.  24 Teams from Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin are scheduled to participate. Winning teams will be invited to participate at the State of Iowa FTC Championship being held on February 21st and 22nd in Coralville/Iowa City.

This event is free and open to the public.  People of all ages will enjoy this face-paced and exciting event which will showcase 7th-12th grade students’ ability to design, build and program robots, use teamwork to build alliances and cooperate with other teams, apply creative problem solving to real-world math and science concepts and earn a place in the Iowa State FTC Championship.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 11:15 A.M., qualification matches will begin at 11:45 A.M. with semi-final and final matches beginning at approximately 4:30 P.M. A more detailed schedule of events, teams competing and more information can be found at our website, www.qcesc.org.

For further information, please contact Pat Barnes at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (563) 370-5513.

Background of FIRST® Tech Challenge:
http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/

FTC is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

Students get to:

  • Design, build, and program robots
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
  • Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
  • Qualify for over $13 million in college scholarships
  • Earn a place in the World Championship

 

Quad City Engineering and Science Council:

The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) is an umbrella organization representing 36 technical societies in the Quad City area with approximately 5,000 associated members. The QCESC is non-profit and is actively seeking new society members as well as additional corporate sponsors.

The QCESC is in it's 52nd year of operation and annually sponsors events such as the National Engineers Banquet, the Engineering and Scientist of The Year Awards, scholarships to local high school students, the President's Reception for local Society President's and provides judges and volunteers for the local STEM activities including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, Battle of the Bridges, QC Tech Challenge, Mousetrap Car Race, and the Kids Engineering Camp.

More information about the QCESC can be found at: www.qcesc.org

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Preventing Data Breaches and Combating Cybercrime PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 13:21

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

“Privacy in the Digital Age: Preventing Data Breaches and Combating Cybercrime”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding today’s hearing to examine the well-publicized recent commercial data breaches.  We’re still learning all the details, but it’s clear these and other breaches have potentially impacted millions of consumers nationwide.

Today we have the opportunity to learn about the challenges that both industry and law enforcement face in combatting cyber-attacks from well organized criminals. The witnesses have a unique ability to provide us various important perspectives as we consider the government’s role in securing sensitive data and crafting a breach notification standard.

I hope to learn where the committee’s expertise could be helpful in combatting future attacks.   Furthermore, I’d like to use this hearing to explore areas of common ground, so we can determine what might be accomplished quickly.

In most cases, thankfully, businesses are able to prevent the relentless attacks against their networks.  This is due to comprehensive security programs coupled with law enforcement’s diligent work.  However, the data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus demonstrate that even companies with vast resources can suffer serious attacks with the potential to harm their customers.

One defensive tool that’s been discussed is updating payment card technology.  Retailers and card issuers are preparing to transition away from decades-old technology.  This is a positive step in the right direction.  However, it’s a bit troubling that it’s taken so long to implement this technology.  Many fraudulent transactions might have been prevented had this occurred already.  But this alone won’t provide complete security, as I’m sure we’ll hear today.

Criminal hackers aren’t quitters.  They continue to find ways to break into company networks.  As the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned, attacks like those recently suffered will continue.  So companies must be vigilant in defending their systems, as well as in taking steps after an attack to warn customers and limit the damage.

Unfortunately, it may be days, weeks, or months before a business realizes it’s been attacked.  And if a hacker can breach a large business’s security system, then it’s obvious that smaller businesses are threatened as well.  It’s important we remain mindful of the differences in businesses and the resources they have available as we go forward.

It’s been a couple of years since the committee last considered data security legislation.  In that time, we’ve learned a lot about this subject thanks to the broader cybersecurity conversation.  The proposals offered by the administration and Congress, along with other government initiatives, can be helpful for us as we consider how to proceed on legislation.

Currently, there are at least four pieces of data security and breach notification legislation in the Senate, with possibly more to come as other committees begin their work.  While these bills would establish national security standards, they take different approaches.  This offers us the chance to examine the effects of each, which is a good thing.

In the past, I’ve expressed concern with approaches that don’t provide businesses the flexibility they need to secure their data.  We must avoid creating a one-size-fits-all security requirement, particularly if it fails to account for businesses of different sizes and resources.   An inflexible approach could lead to businesses focusing on merely completing a checklist of requirements in order to avoid liability, instead of doing what makes sense to secure customer information in their particular circumstances.

On this point, I hope to learn how the government can better partner with the private sector and law enforcement to strengthen data security.  The government has a strong interest to work together with industry, given the impact cyber-attacks have on the nation’s economy.

Fostering a greater public-private approach to cybersecurity was recognized in last year’s Executive Order from the President on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.  The Executive Order stated that strengthening cybersecurity can be achieved through government partnership with private business.

As a result of the Executive Order, we should review the National Institute of Standards and Technology ongoing partnership with owners of critical infrastructure.  This partnership will create standards, guidelines, and best practices for businesses to implement on a voluntary basis. 

There’s already bipartisan support for this approach. Senators Rockefeller and Thune have introduced a bill to enshrine the National Institute of Standards and Technology role in creating a cybersecurity framework.  This is just one model for government action focused on securing critical infrastructure.  It’s worth considering how this approach might work in this particular context.

The recent breaches also draw attention to the need for a uniform, federal notification standard.  There’s been little suggestion that the public failed to receive news about these recent breaches.  However, we once again see the difficulties faced with a patchwork of state laws.  Companies must ensure compliance, while also investigating ongoing threats.

I’ve supported creating a federal notification standard to replace the laws in 46 states and the District of Columbia.  It makes sense.  If done correctly, it would ease compliance costs for businesses, particularly since the current laws are ever changing.  A federal standard would also ensure consumers are notified of breaches that could result in financial harm or identity theft. 

But if the standard for notification is crafted too broadly or the penalties for failure to notify are too harsh, there’s a risk for consumer over-notification.  Businesses may choose to issue notice of even trivial breaches.  Just as there’s a potential for harm when a victim is not notified of a breach, over-notification can lead to harm or apathy.

Further, a notification law must recognize the resources available to different businesses.  While companies like those before us today were quickly able to comply with existing law, many smaller businesses would face a more difficult experience.

There’s widespread support for a national breach notification standard.  As a result, we should ask whether it’s appropriate to separate this issue from other aspects of the ongoing data security debate.  This might provide the chance to take action quickly, as we continue work on other issues.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman.  I look forward to exploring these issues and working with you and others.

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Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) Invites Public to its 52nd Annual Banquet PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Christine Cournoyer   
Monday, 03 February 2014 09:39

The 52nd Annual Banquet of the Quad City Engineering & Science Council will be held on Thursday, February 20th at The Lodge Hotel and Conference Center (900 Spruce Hills Drive, Bettendorf, Iowa) beginning at 5:00 P.M. with networking social hour, silent auction, displays, dinner, Order of the Engineer Inductions, scholarship presentations to high school students, annual awards and keynote speaker Donald Bossi, President of FIRST (an acronym for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, www.usfirst.org) .

 

The QCESC Annual Awards include Society of the Year, Junior and Senior Engineer and Scientist of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, STEM Teacher of the Year and STEM Volunteer of the Year.

 

This banquet is held during National Engineers Week (www.eweek.org), and everyone is cordially invited to attend this premier, annual event to celebrate, network and pay tribute to the great Engineering and Science Professionals and Educators we have in the Quad City Region.  This includes supporting the next generation of Engineering and Science Professionals through supporting students with outreach to provide them with real world experiences.

During the social hour, there will be be silent auction and a number of displays expected from technical societies, Colleges & Universities, and student displays including from Project Lead the Way along with student teams from each of the four, FIRST® Robotics programs supporting students age 6-18 (K-12) .

To pre-register, request to have a display or donate to the silent auction, visit our website: www.qcesc.org. Reservations and payment is due by Noon on Tuesday, February 18th. No late reservations will be allowed and we will not accept payment at the door.

Schedule of Events:

5:00 PM         Networking Social with cash bar with silent auction and displays

6:00 PM         Seating for dinner with opening remarks and pledge of allegiance

6:10 PM         Plated Dinner with Dessert

6:30 PM         Order of the Engineer 2014 Inductions (during dessert)

6:45 PM         Program with Awards and Scholarships

7:15 PM         Keynote Speaker:  Donald Bossi, President of FIRST

8:15 PM         End of the Event

Note:  The cash bar will be available throughout the event.

Keynote Speaker:  Donald E. Bossi, President,  FIRST Speaking On:  "How do you spell success? F-a-i-l-u-r-e"

As President of FIRST, successful technology executive Donald E. Bossi brings deep technical and management skills to the organization. Bossi, who has excelled in a 20-year career with several high technology companies, primarily in the fiber optics field, is now anxious to give back and help develop the next generation of innovators.

Starting his career as a research scientist, first at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and then at United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), Bossi was a part of an advanced project at UTRC which was acquired by JDS Uniphase (JDSU) and he moved to the new company. After a series of promotions at JDSU, he became Vice President and General Manager for JDSU Electro-Optics Products. The Division grew tenfold during his involvement there. Bossi next served as Group President of JDSU Active Components Group for two years, and then as Group President, JDSU Transmission Products Group for two years. In 2005, Bossi joined Technology Ventures Partners to work with their high-tech portfolio companies. While at the venture group, he served as the CEO of Aegis Lightware, Inc. and then as CEO of Inlet Technologies, positioning the company for a beneficial acquisition by Cisco. Most recently, Bossi served as the COO of CIDRA Holdings in Wallingford, Conn.

Bossi is the holder of four U.S. patents and author of numerous technical presentations. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and has completed executive education courses at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He served on the Boards of Directors of several privately held companies, and is also a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $19 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

For the 2013 - 2014 season, FIRST will reach 350,000 students in 80 countries supported by more than 130,000 volunteers and more than 3,5000 Sponsors which locally includes John Deere and Rockwell Collins.  In Iowa & Illinois, there are an estimated 12,000+ students participating on FIRST Teams.

Quad City Engineering and Science Council:

The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) is an umbrella organization representing 36 technical societies in the Quad City area with approximately 5,000 associated members. The QCESC is non-profit and is actively seeking new society members as well as additional corporate sponsors.

The QCESC is in it's 52nd year of operation and annually sponsors events such as the National Engineers Banquet, the Engineering and Scientist of The Year Awards, scholarships to local high school students, the President's Reception for local Society President's and provides judges and volunteers for the local STEM activities including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, Battle of the Bridges, QC Tech Challenge, Mousetrap Car Race, and the Kids Engineering Camp.

More information about the QCESC can be found at: www.qcesc.org

# # #

 
Ames Team Wins Regional National Science Bowl Competition, Secures Spot in National Finals in Washington, D.C. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Dirk Fillpot   
Monday, 27 January 2014 11:47

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced that a team of students from Ames was among 11 teams of middle and high school students who won their regional competitions for the 2014 National Science Bowl this past weekend and are advancing to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in April.

“The National Science Bowl challenges students to excel and heightens their interest in fields vital to America’s continued scientific advancement,” Energy Secretary Moniz said. “Congratulations to these students for advancing to the National Finals. I wish them the best of luck in the competition.”

The National Science Bowl brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country to compete in a fast-paced question-and-answer format where they solve technical problems and answer questions on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth and space science, physics and math.

The teams that won their qualifying regional competitions this past weekend and are advancing to the National Finals are:

Arkansas:  

Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock  

California: 

Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies in Los Angeles

Hawaii:

Maui High School in Kahului

Iowa:

Ames High School in Ames

Massachusetts:

Greater Boston Science & Math Team in Andover

Minnesota:

Wayzata High School in Plymouth

New Mexico:

Los Alamos High School in Los Alamos

New York:

Ward Melville High School in East Setauket

Washington:

Science Infinity Club in Bellevue

Wisconsin:

Appleton West High School in Appleton

A series of regional middle school and high school tournaments are being held across the country from January through March. Winners will advance to April’s National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., for the final middle school and high school competitions.

The top 16 high school teams and the top eight middle school teams in the National Finals will win $1,000 for their schools’ science departments. Prizes for the top two high school teams for the 2014 National Science Bowl will be announced at a later date.

The high school team that won the 2013 National Science Bowl received a nine-day, all-expenses-paid science trip to Alaska, where they learned more about glaciology, marine and avian biology, geology and plate tectonics. The second-place high school team at the 2013 National Science Bowl won a five-day, fully guided adventure tour of several national parks, which included a whitewater rafting trip.

More than 225,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl since it was established in 1991, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions. Approximately 14,000 students competed in the National Science Bowl last year and more are expected to participate this year.

DOE’s Office of Science manages the National Science Bowl Finals competition. More information is available on the National Science Bowl website:http://www.science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/.

 
7th Annual Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) All Ages Bridge Building Contest this Friday or Saturday at the Putnam Museum PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Christine Cournoyer   
Monday, 27 January 2014 10:11

Reminder:  There is still time to pre-register and participate in the 7th Annual QCESC & ASCE Battle of the Bridge Contest this coming Friday or Saturday(January 31st or February 1st) at the Putnam Museum in Davenport.  This is a very fun, very well run event for all ages.  Currently we have 4 openings on Friday & 24 openings on Saturday.   The event webpage is updated regularly to show the teams that have signed up and the current number of openings.  Teams can continue to pre-register until we are full.  No pre-work required to participate.  All of the necessary materials and tools are provided along with support from local engineers including members from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Complete event details including the on-line pre-registration form which only takes a few minutes to fill out are available at:

http://www.qcesc.org/Bridge_Building/Battle%20of%20Bridges.htm 

All ages of participates are welcome. A team may consist of one, two, three orfour people. All members of the team must be signed up on the registration form. Teams will be categorized as follows:

  • Elementary (grades 4-6)
  • Middle School (grades 7-8)
  • High School (grades 9-12)
  • College (Ages 18-22, or enrolled in post-secondary degree program)
  • Family (any combination - kids, adults, seniors)

If you have any questions, please contact If you have any questions, please contact e-mail  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or The Putnam Museum’s  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Other Upcoming QCESC Events:

  • ·          31Jan – Deadline for submitting a nomination for the annual ESC Awards including STEM Teacher of the Year along with the Engineer and Scientist of the Year.  
    Link to further information Awards will be announced at the annual QCESC Banquet scheduled for 20Feb with further details to be announced.
  • ·          8 Feb – 3rd Annual Quad City FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Regional Qualifer with 24 Teams with students age 14-18 from 3 States including 7 from the Illinois Quad Cities scheduled to participate.  Volunteers are needed to support the event with no previous experience required for many of the positions.  High school and college students are welcome to volunteer along with adults. Link to Volunteer (all Iowa events)  Volunteers are also being sought for the State of Iowa Championship in Iowa City on Feb 22 and the new North Super Regional in Iowa City on  3-5Apr with teams from 13 states competing. 

    We plan to make volunteer assignments this week for the 8Feb QC event so register to volunteer soon.  We will continue to accept volunteers until we are full.

 
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