Schools Must Do Better to Prepare Students For a Freelance Future

Almost two-thirds of children currently in elementary school will end up in jobs that don’t exist yet. That’s why students need transferable, creative skills. Unfortunately, they’re not developing them at school. Hiring managers say current graduates lack critical thinking skills, aptitude with problem-solving and attention to detail. New workers are also short on communication and teamwork abilities.

Students can hone these skills when schools empower them to think like entrepreneurs— by using their knowledge to figure out solutions to real-life problems.

For example, instead of memorizing the names of U.S. presidents, students might pick one president and create a campaign poster, speech, or advertisement to learn how to communicate a key message.

Freelance learning environments teach students how to think critically, collaborate and communicate – the abilities that hiring managers say they’re missing. When college students have application-based experiences like long-term projects or internships, they’re more likely to be engaged at work upon graduation.

Entrepreneurship gives people freedom over their work, which also improves well-being. One study of 11,000 graduates from the Wharton School of Business found that those running their own businesses were happier than graduates in other jobs— no matter how much money they made.

Some schools have embraced entrepreneurial learning. For instance, at the Portfolio School in New York City, teachers give students interdisciplinary projects centered on a theme. One course focuses on how to make ice cream machines. In the process, students learn history by studying how ice became commercialized; science by seeing how states of matter change at different temperatures; and math by measuring ingredients to make their own batches of ice cream.

Other schools enlist outside programs to bring entrepreneurial thinking into the classroom. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship partners with underserved schools in cities like Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles to teach students how to build a virtual food truck business or create an app.

To teach students to be adaptable, schools must ensure that the environments in which they learn are adaptable, too— that they reflect the real world. One idea that’s taking hold is the “makerspace”— a studio-like classroom designed so kids can learn by doing. A makerspace may allow students to work with drills, three-dimensional printers, sewing kits, or even a soldering iron.

The product engineers at the company I lead, KI, constantly collaborate with architects and designers on research into how the furniture within a classroom can support entrepreneurial learning. In one case, our research team found that teachers were improvising makerspaces out of everything from storage bins to old couches. So our designers developed a collection of seating and work surfaces called Ruckus that’s reconfigurable, adaptable, and tailor-made for cutting-edge learning environments like makerspaces.

No matter where the future of work takes us, entrepreneurial skills will never be obsolete. That’s why they should be the foundation of what we teach our children.

Dick Resch is CEO of KI Furniture ( This op-ed first appeared in Fox News Opinion on

Surviving Trauma

This article is part of the #STCPreventionMatters campaign from the University of Maryland Medical Center. For more information about the campaign and the Center for Injury Prevention and Policy, visit

It only takes the blink of an eye for someone’s life to change. Each year in the United States, emergency rooms treat 41 million trauma patients, and hospitals care for 5.7 million critically ill or seriously injured people. Whether it is an illness, injury, or witnessed event, any tragic event can be devastating. No two people will experience trauma the exact same way. However, what is common is the fact that recovery can be hard work. To survive trauma, a person’s body must heal, but survival also means the mind must heal.

Healing is different for everyone. No two people will heal in the same way or in the same amount of time, and it may not always feel like progress. Recovery will have good days and bad days, as well as successes and setbacks. There may be a time when an injury or illness is no longer obvious, but the mind and spirit may still need time to heal. Stress, grief, pain, anxiety, depression, uncertainly and sleeping problems can be part of the healing process. These are normal reactions to trauma, and are treatable. Health professionals and personal support systems play a big role in overcoming these challenges.

Trauma can affect more than just the person who is ill or injured, and often does. Family members, close friends and even people who witness a tragic event might also experience a wide range of feelings. These reactions are often comparable to the experiences of the person who was hurt. It is important for anyone who is struggling with the consequences of trauma to get proper care in order to heal. Asking for help, and understanding strengths, as well as challenges and needs is an important step toward recovery. Talking with a doctor or therapist is key to rebuilding a healthy body, mind and spirit. Routine visits with health care professionals have proven benefits, but there is something more powerful for healing than even the strongest medicine. One of the greatest gifts anyone can give a person who has survived a trauma is patience and understanding. Healing takes time – there is no way to rush through it.

Surviving trauma can be a long, hard journey, so it is important to celebrate successes along the way. Some achievements will be big and obvious, and others will be small and vague. Regardless, it is important to appreciate every step forward. The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, the American Trauma Society, and the Trauma Survivors Network invites every survivor to honor their recovery journey. To bring survivors, family members and friends together in celebration, the nation dedicates one special day each year to trauma survivors. National Trauma Survivors Day is May 16, 2018. To learn more about fun and easy ways every survivor can celebrate, visit:

Frannie Grissom, BSN, RN has been a nurse at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center since 1994. She is the hospital’s Program Coordinator for the Trauma Survivors Network.

Johns Hopkins Student Surprised With $20,000 Scholarship from Sallie Mae to Pursue Biotech

Four exceptional students in pursuit of graduate degrees were each awarded a $20,000 Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students from Sallie Mae, the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. The students, joined by their family members, were surprised with the scholarships during what they believed were finalist interviews at Sallie Mae’s office in Newton, Massachusetts.

More than 3,400 nominations were submitted from current and aspiring graduate students who were asked to creatively describe their journey to graduate school, who or what influenced them to pursue an advanced degree, and what advice they would give themselves as college freshmen. This year’s recipients are Tevin Ali of Florida, Albert Appouh of New Jersey, Noor Hasan of Illinois, and Cody Sain of Tennessee.

Tevin Ali, 26, of Boynton Beach, Florida, is studying biotechnology enterprise and entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University, where he is aspiring to become a leader in genomics and an empowering speaker to create a positive impact on the STEM community and biotechnology industry. Ali earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University.

“My journey through college and to graduate school has helped me find not just my educational and career pathway, but also my own personal mission,” said Ali. “This scholarship from Sallie Mae empowers me to continue my education and develop a platform to share my story in hopes of inspiring others.”

Albert Appouh, 29, of Maplewood, New Jersey, is pursuing a Master of Science degree from Columbia University. Appouh is the founder of Newark Cares, a nonprofit association focused on community enrichment, and will use his master’s degree to continue making advancements for at-risk youth. Appouh earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

“I want to demonstrate that anyone can pursue a graduate degree as long as they are determined to achieve the goals they set out for themselves,” said Appouh. “Scholarships are a critical part of achieving that goal as they help students, from any background, plan to pay for their education. Sallie Mae’s scholarships and tools to help students find free money is a great service, and I hope others will take advantage of their resources.”

Noor Hasan, 26, of Skokie, Illinois, is studying law at the University of California, Berkeley. The youngest diversity strategist to have worked for a Fortune 100 company, Hasan is an advocate for inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Hasan earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Legal Studies, with a minor in Asian-American studies, from Northwestern University.

“I believe we have a critical responsibility to make good use of educational opportunities, to help shape a world we want to live in,” said Hasan. “I look forward to mentoring law students impacted by socio-economic, racial, and gender-based adversity, and helping others who, like me, have been told their identity will limit their trajectory. I’m grateful for Sallie Mae’s role in my journey, and I hope to pay it forward to many others.”

Cody Sain, 22, of Humboldt, Tennessee, is a senior at the University of Tennessee majoring in microbiology with a minor in Africana studies. A volunteer at local health clinics partnering with community schools, Sain will graduate in May and pursue a medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

“Going to medical school has been a lifelong goal,” Sain said. “I’m committed to helping others live better, healthier, and fuller lives. I believe Sallie Mae is helping people in their own way with scholarships so more people can make graduate school a reality and fulfill their own goals.”

“These aspiring leaders are taking a critical step in their educational and professional journey,” said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. “We are focused on helping people create the life they imagine, and we know that students who pursue advanced degrees are crafting a brighter future not only for themselves, but also for the communities in which they live and work.”

According to “How America Pays for Graduate School,” the national study by Sallie Mae and Ipsos, two-thirds of grad students (64 percent) believe an advanced degree is the new minimum standard level of education for any professional occupation, and nearly all (95 percent) say an advanced degree is necessary to enter, advance, accelerate, or remain competitive in their chosen career. Scholarships, however, along with grants, fellowships, and tuition waivers, account for just 15 percent of funds used to pay for grad school.

In response, Sallie Mae recently launched a new Graduate School Scholarship Search tool, which offers access to 850,000 graduate scholarships worth up to $1 billion. Available scholarships and fellowships run the gamut of graduate school disciplines, including business, law, medical, healthcare and nursing, engineering, and education, and range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Sallie Mae’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate School is an extension of the company’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program, which has awarded $225,000 in scholarships over the past two years to college-bound high school students.

For additional information about saving, planning, and paying for graduate school, visit