Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

As a liberal arts major writing blogs for our little veteran-owned managed services provider deep in the heart of Texas, I find it hard to be original sometimes.

Especially when asked to tackle a topic again as big as STEM education that I wrote about in 2017.

It’s even harder when the topic is so important to our youth, our society, culture and economy.  Greater minds than mine have written well researched, thoughtful, persuasive and powerful articles, blogs and papers on the topic of STEM education. 

So, as I wait patiently for the plagiarism police, I’ve decided to copy, highlight and thank the writers of a few of the articles I really enjoyed as my deadline has come and gone. 

Thank you to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Ryan with ID Tech and Pew Research for the coolest interactive graph from the U.S. Census Bureau on STEM college graduates and STEM occupations referenced below and, hopefully, given due credit. 

How’s this for an opening thought on STEM?

From the Smithsonian: “Four billion people on the planet use a mobile phone, while 3.5 billion people use a toothbrush. In the past two years, 90% of all the world’s data has been generated. NASA plans to set foot on Mars in the next 20 years, and driverless cars are already being tested in Europe. The future is here, and it requires a citizenry fluent in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”

ID Tech has wonderful analogy for the definition of the word “unfilled” and a thought provoking question “why?”:  

“If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times—by the end of 2018, 2.4 million STEM jobs were projected to go unfilled while we are still waiting on updated figures for 2019 and beyond, the statement is still powerful.

Even if you’ve heard it before, think about what it really means. When something goes “unfilled” or is left vacant, why is that?

A winter flight to Fairbanks, Alaska might go unfilled—but that’s because there isn’t much interest in traveling to the coldest place in the country at the most frigid time of year.

With STEM jobs though, we are talking about, well, jobs. Money. A living. There is no shortage of people who need jobs to make money and earn a living.”

His article also includes great STEM education statistics and a compelling conclusion of where STEM needs to be: 

“To end, and not to oversimplify it, STEM needs to be where the kids are. In school, after-school; during the summer, and in our local communities, introduced at a young age when they are most curious. Kids need STEM mentors and role models to look up to. They need more education about STEM degrees and related jobs so they can look forward to bright futures in these fields.

STEM needs to be the sport your child is playing, the show they are watching, and the hero they are emulating. It’s not that kids don’t have the time or capacity to “fit in” STEM, but rather that time needs to be reshaped to include STEM.”

I’d be remiss if I did not include an image of the interactive Census Bureau graph from the Pew Research Chart of the Week and the corresponding YouTube video from the Census Bureau “exploring the relationship between college majors and occupations” for STEM with interactive graph.

The importance of STEM education to fill the needed jobs cannot be overstated.  I hope the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Ryan with IDTech and Pew Research will not press charges as I am patiently waiting for the plagiarism police to show up any day now. 

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