Category Archives: Education

City of Houston Announces Business Plan Competition for Women

The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity, Small Business Administration of Houston and the Houston Community College System partner locally to provide training opportunities for women interested in participating in the InnovateHer Business Plan Competition for a chance to win $40,000.

Women entrepreneurs have been critical to growing businesses and creating jobs in Houston. Women entrepreneurs can be seen in the medical field, information technology and in the construction industry. Locally the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity is pleased to partner with Houston Community College and the SBA to provide training opportunities so that women entrepreneurs in the Houston area are given the chance to compete nationally for a chance to win cash prizes to launch their businesses. The InnovateHer competition is open to any women who has an idea to impact the lives of women and families.

Criteria: Contestants must develop a product or service that meets the following requirements:

Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families
Has the potential for commercialization and
Fills a need in the marketplace
Must be a citizen or permanent U.S. resident who is at least 18 years of age
Must maintain a primary place of business in the U.S.

To learn more about the competition and the trainings available in the Houston area interested contestants can visit

Children’s Museum of Houston: Wearable Technology and Robotics With a Latin Twist

Outsmart Dr. Boredom in a final showdown to save summer fun during the Summer of Epic Adventure – Forces Unite! The Museum is partnering with the Smithsonian Latino Center’s ¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert to captivate the inquisitive minds of kids and fuel your determination to discover using STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).


Chevron Maker Annex Kid Creations: Meet kid inventors of the future as they showcase their inventions.

¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert:

  • Wearable Technology and Robotics: Latino scientists and innovators will demonstrate tech trends.
  • Create-It: Engage in a maker project of your own at Smithsonian Latino Center’s interactive station.
  • Meet the Science Expert: Hang out with STEM pros representing Latino-specific STEM organizations.
    • Jose “Pepe” Contreras-Vidal: A professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston. He will examine your brain activity and discuss how he harnesses that activity to develop robotics.
    • Javier Fadul: Has presented at TEDxHouston and SxSW on the possible futures of innovation and the accelerating returns of technologies that change the world. He will discuss the future of wearable technology.


KidMakers Expo

August 7, 2015, from 2 to 6 p.m.

***Activities, events and times subject to change.


Children’s Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz St., Houston, TX 77004


MUSEUM SUMMER HOURS: – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun: Noon – 6 p.m.

  • General Museum admission: $10 per person and $9 for seniors 65+ and for active duty military personnel. Children under one and Museum Members receive free admission.
  • For more information, visit

Civil Rights Leader Mamie King-Chalmers In Houston August 6

Civil rights leader, Mamie King-Chalmers, will share what life was like for African Americans before and during the Civil Rights Movement. This “History Talks” presentation will take place during Thursday Free Family Night, Aug. 6, at 6pm at  the Children’s Museum of Houston. 

The event is part of “Wake Up and Vote: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” carried out by The Honey Brown Hope Foundation. “Wake Up and Vote” takes a look at how far we’ve come and why we shouldn’t take for granted our right to vote. The event will feature onsite voter registrars to register voters.


Mamie King-Chalmers grew up in Jim Crow South.  In 1963, when Mamie was 22, she and her family met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and joined the “Children’s Crusade” by becoming foot soldiers for the Civil Rights Movement. Mamie was chased by dogs, beaten, and jailed under horrible conditions. One particular photo of Mamie being hosed with two unidentified young men became a famous iconic photo. This photo was taken by Charles Moore and gained national attention when it was featured in Time Magazine. The photo rallied the civil rights movement and alerted the world to the horrors African Americans faced in Birmingham.

***Activities, events and times subject to change.

 For more information, visit

Enter Now: Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition

Liftoff Houston is the City of Houston’s annual business plan competition. This entrepreneurial initiative aims to empower Houstonians with business literacy education and mentorship to start their own business while contributing to the local growth and sustainability of the Houston economy.

To be eligible, applicants must be in the start-up phase of their business which means they must be in operation for less than one year with revenue of less than $10,000, and must live in the Houston city limits with their business in the Houston city limits. Capital One Bank is the key sponsor for this event providing cash prizes totaling $30,000.

The competition will take place in four stages – orientation, workshop, mentoring, and presentation, over a 5 month period. Applicants will participate in a myriad of workshops ranging from business plan basics to access to capital, as well as information sessions on essential City of Houston business resources available through the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the City’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO.) The goal is to enable individuals to successfully research and develop their business plan. Applicants will also receive additional support from professional mentors from SCORE Houston and Capital One Bank to further refine the business plan for submission.

The award categories are Product, Service, and Innovation.

​$10,000 – Awarded for top “Product” Based Business Plan (Retail, resale, merchandise, etc.)
$10,000 – Awarded for top “Service” Based Business Plan (Food, labor, consulting, etc.)
$10,000 – Awarded for top “Innovation” Based Business Plan (Software, Hardware, inventions, new market businesses, etc.)
Competition Cycle

Launch of Competition
Workshop Sessions
Mentor Consults
Business Plan Judging
Pitch Day/Award Ceremony

The 2015 competition launched July 1, 2015!

The competition workshops will be held at multiple locations across Houston.

To be eligible, applicants must be in the start-up phase of their business and only in operation for less than one year and with revenue of less than $10,000, must live in Houston city limits and plan to open their business in Houston. Please see competition rules & eligibility for more details.

Apply for the competition by clicking the “APPLY” button below to an account on the Liftoff Houston Competition website and complete the Liftoff Houston Application.

Click here to apply.

Children’s Museum of Houston Honors National Autism Awareness Month With An Exclusive Sensory Event

The Children’s Museum of Houston will host Sensory Friendly Day on Monday, April 6, in honor of National Autism Awareness Month. Sensory Friendly Day is an opportunity for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders and sensory processing differences to explore the Museum. This exclusive event, held from 10 am to 2pm,  will provide a comfortable, protected and accepting environment, allow parents to make connections with other families, and offer new tools and resources. There will be no music and sound reducing headphones will be available. Outside food and drinks will be allowed (Fresh Café will be closed).
• Music Therapy Activities: Move and groove to therapeutic music in Tree Top Discovery Room. Sign up at the Information Booth.
• Obstacle Course: Test your bilateral coordination and balance as you race through our fun and challenging obstacle course in PowerPlay.
• Hands-on Specialists: Learn more about your child’s development as they engage in fun sensory activities with our Board Certified Speech Pathologists and Behavior Analysts.
• Color Blast Wheel: Create a color wheel to learn the science of seeing colors at Junktion.
• Beat of Your Own Balloon Drum: March to the beat of your own balloon drum at Junktion.
• Snuggly Bear: Design your own fuzzy friend at Junktion.
• Count and Pop: Pop till you drop while playing this fun game at Exxon Mobil Math Cart.
• Dog Whistles: Experiment with pitch by making your own whistle at Science Station.
• Rainbow Paper: Separate and see the beautiful colors light produces at Science Station.
• Smell Cups: Put your nose to the test and identify different smells at Science Station.
• Sink or Float: Build a boat and find out how long will keep afloat at Inventors’ Workshop.
• Are you my bat baby?: Match bat babies to their mothers using your sense of smell at EcoStation.
• Bat Origami: Create a beautiful bat origami by using your tactile senses at EcoStation.
• Bubble Painting: Create your own bubbly work of art at Alexander Art Academy.

Special Sensory Friendly Day Admission: $5 per person. Children under one and Museum Members receive free admission. Pre-registration required. Please contact Lydia Dungus at or call (713) 535-7238 to make a reservation.

For more information, visit or call (713) 522-1138.

‘Scrabble In The City’ Event at Saint Arnold Brewing Company [@SaintArnold]



When is the last time you played SCRABBLE® and formed a conga line or entered a costume contest for additional points or extra tiles? Chances are – never, unless you’ve attended Literacy Advance of Houston’’s ‘SCRABBLE in the City’ event in previous years. This fun, boisterous, fundraising game night will take place this year on Thursday, May 28, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons Avenue, Houston, 77020. Competitive grown-ups will enjoy zany SCRABBLE, complete with game changers and special challenges, hearty dinner bites, Saint Arnold’s famous brew and raffle drawings. The top prize: Mr. T – the coveted SCRABBLE in the City Trophy and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

The most linguistically creative night of the year benefits Literacy Advance, the city’s oldest and largest volunteer-based literacy provider. In 2014, Literacy Advance volunteers provided free adult and family literacy services to more than 3,200 adults and families. The non-profit organization, now in its 51st year, relies on sponsorships and donations to provide free literacy education throughout Houston.

“SCRABBLE in the City takes the game to the next level! With prizes, costume contests, and score enhancers – and plenty of food, drinks, and live music – it’s sure to be a night to remember. Most importantly, this night will benefit low literacy adults throughout the city with free literacy classes, so they can create a better life for themselves and their families,” said Joe Wappelhorst, executive director of Literacy Advance.

Want to play? SCRABBLE in the City sponsors are vital partners in moving forward Literacy Advance’s mission of transforming lives and community through literacy. Team and sponsorship opportunities with “SCRABBLE-licious” benefits start at $500 and are now available. Individuals or groups interested in securing a sponsorship or team, please call Josh Beasley at 713-266-8777 or visit the SCRABBLE in the City page on Literacy Advance’s site.

For more information on Literacy Advance, visit

March 27 Fair: Free Resources For Afterschool Programs, Day Care, Summer Camps

Opportunity Fair 

From golfing to cooking, come see what kids ages 4-12 will be doing in afterschool programs, day cares and summer camps throughout the city as the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning for Kids, or CASE for Kids, presents the Opportunity Fair.

The fair is held for educators of school-age children in child care, summer camp or afterschool programs. Free activities from vendors include art, golf, cooking, mad science experiments and robotics. A lending library is provided by CASE for Kids so that programs may gain curriculum to enhance their offerings.

Friday, March 27, 2015
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Harris County Department of Education
6300 Irvington Blvd.
Houston, TX 770222

Educators, day care directors and summer camp personnel will be in attendance to learn about CASE for Kids free activities and materials, including field trips and a lending library, as well as professional development opportunities such as conference scholarships.

Etc: Call Carol Vaughn, 281-660-9205,

About the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning (CASE) for Kids: CASE for Kids, formerly the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment, was launched by Harris County Department of Education in 1999. CASE for Kids is an after-school intermediary which leverages community resources and strengthens the capacity of the out-of-school time field. Services benefit approximately 11,000 kids in greater Harris County. CASE for Kids programs happen before and after school, on weekends and during the summer. Go to for information.

Attempting to Conquer and Cover #SXSW While Battling #Lupus

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve attended SXSW (South By Southwest).  There are a few reasons as to why that is so but for the sake of not making this a 50 page dissertation (insert laugh),  I will only address two of those reasons.

1) Anyone who knows me is quite aware that I am a lover of music who often roots for the indie artist.  You know, that one with so much talent oozing out of the depths of their soul?  The one that prepares for SXSW in hopes that he/she will be seen, heard, or perhaps discovered.  And well, to me, the substance of SXSW isn’t much about that anymore.  And so,  for a while, I decided not to attend because of this but then I thought about it – what if others felt like me? What if we all stopped attending? Then who would be to witness to all of the great music out there? And while, I still have my feelings about the politics of it all, I am not here to criticize. Not at all.  It’s a great experience and I am thankful to be have been a part of it.

2) A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus, although I had been battling the symptoms years before I was diagnosed. And without going into too much detail, Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation — pain and swelling. It affects the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and other organs of the body (more information here).

With that being said, I recently had to take a step back (I love being busy!) and actually leave the career that I loved so much.  However, I knew I just couldn’t sit at home doing nothing.  Fast forward to today, and I have the privilage of writing for a weekly Houston publication along with contributions to some music blogs here and there; all from the comfort of my own home and at the leisure of my own pace!

So yes, it was time to tackle SXSW again but this time as an accredited writer/photographer.  No lie, I was intimidated.  Covering a festival this massive is fast-paced.  Who can upload their write up first….who got that million dollar picture? How in the hell was I going to keep up?  Please no Lupus flare up. 

Upon opening day of the festival’s interactive and film portion, I had already been to Austin twice that week.  One for a business meeting and the other for the Latin@s In Tech conference.  For some, that 2 to 3 hour drive from Houston to Austin (and back) might be an easy feat but for one battling Lupus, not quite so. Needless to say, my first day at SXSW, I was exhausted yet thankful.  Thankful for the clouds that beautifully shielded that sun from pounding down on me.  Sunlight can cause a lupus rash to flare and may even trigger a serious flare of the disease itself.  The sun has bought me down one time too many.

And I’ll be damned that on the very first day, I began to get a flare-up.  My hands swollen, legs in so much pain – the pain  I just didn’t know how I was going to get from one location to the other – would I give in to the pain in my knees?  The arthritic agony when snapping pictures of iconic artist? 

Unfortunately, in the end Lupus won but I didn’t accept defeat until after I got what I headed to SXSW for! I proved to myself that yes, I can still do what my heart desires, you’re never too old (or sick) to have some fun, and I got my picture of Molly Ringwald during the 30th anniversary of the Breakfast Club!




The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation announced today that it will begin accepting applications for its first ever scholarship program beginning Friday, Feb. 27. The program includes 33 scholarships totaling $600,000. The Gifted Scholarship Award and the Scholarship Tuition Assistance Award are the first financial assistance initiatives offered in 24 countries to Latin music students. The Gifted Scholarship Award and the Scholarship Tuition Assistance Award will be bestowed to students pursuing a career in Latin music in an effort to foster the next generation of extraordinarily talented musicians, who will continue the legacy of Latin music and its significant contribution to the world’s culture. Applications are now available at The deadline is March 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Offering two types of scholarships, the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation will provide financial assistance to Latin music students in financial need to further enhance their musical skills and continue their studies. The beneficiaries of the scholarships will be selected from a highly competitive international pool of candidates by a committee of music experts. Selected applicants will be awarded with substantial financial help to study at a music institution of their choice and approved by the Foundation. Applicants in the following 24 countries are encouraged to apply: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The two types of scholarships offered are:
The Gifted Scholarship Award provides monetary support to potentially three very talented students with financial strains. An annual tuition stipend will be provided to those pursuing a four year Bachelor Degree at a music institution. The maximum amount for these scholarships is $25,000 (U.S.) a year per student. The Scholarship Tuition Assistance Award will consist of a one-time tuition award at a music institution. Each selected student will receive a maximum of $10,000 (U.S.) and up to 30 students will be awarded this year.

To apply and for more information please visit or to obtain further details, please write to Deadline to apply is March 31, 2015.

Sponsored by Exxon Mobile, High School Seniors Can Now Apply For The LNESC College Scholarship

Sponsored by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC) will award one (1) national scholarship of $20,000 (paid over four years), and twelve (12) $2,000 local scholarships to qualified Latino high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in engineering at U. S. post-secondary institutions. Applicants must reside within the following cities or surrounding areas:

Miami, FL | Kansas City, MO | Albuquerque NM | Philadelphia, PA | Bayamon, PR | Corpus Christi, TX | Houston, TX | Dallas, TX | El Paso, TX | San Antonio, TX

Eligibility Requirements

Must be a graduating high school senior
Must be a Hispanic student accepted into and planning to attend a full-time program in engineering leading to a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university in the U.S.
Must have a cumulative high school grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent.
Must have scored 29 or higher on the ACT test, or 1350 or higher on the SAT test (sum of critical reading and mathematics scores).
Must be a U. S. Citizen or have the legal right to work in the U.S. without requiring sponsorship now or in the future.
The application period for the ExxonMobil / LNESC Scholarship is from February 20, 2015 to April 15, 2015. For more information, please click here.