STEM outreach is important!

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There are kids out there today who have a big interest in science and engineering. Most likely because they watched a show like Star Trek or Bill Nye the Science Guy. There are other kids who don’t know what science and engineering really is but they have an aptitude for it if only something interesting would spark their imaginations. Even if a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is not for every kid, exposing as many kids to the awesome and incredible possibilities is important. Not just for the health of society but for students who need a good challenge and have an interest of going into a STEM career if only we knew what it was.

These students are a part of the Idaho Go On intiative where High School students are mentored on what it takes to get into college.
These students are a part of the Idaho Go On intiative where High School students are mentored on what it takes to get into college.

Here are 3 of my top reasons why STEM is a good idea for students:

1) It gives you a more narrowed focus — I am definitely not saying that there aren’t unlimited possibilities in STEM but it gives you more defined areas of interest. For example, your math skills may be great but you really like engineering, or you love engineering but more on the biological side. You can choose to cross disciplines in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or just try one. You can also jump in between different fields after spending time in one as the STEM fields are closely related. More than say English and the Arts (sorry STEAM fans).

2) There are other kids with the same interests — A lot of parents and kids worry about making and having friends and don’t worry. There are a lot of students out there with an interest in STEM. And they can be the most excited, passionate and loyal friends you ever have. Don’t just think about the stereotypical geeky kid from the memes (although those kids are cool too when you get to them!) there are kids from all different backgrounds that are developing their interests.

This is an engineering camp called E-Day at Boise State where kids from across the state of Idaho come to participate in STEM activities.
This is an engineering camp called E-Day at Boise State where kids from across the state of Idaho come to participate in STEM activities.

3) It will take you far — STEM careers are the top careers in the country even though as America we aren’t producing enough to cover the ever increasing demand of society for technology, exploration and discovery. So we need to fix this by letting students know what they could achieve. For example, I want to be an astronaut, John Glenn was the first person in space and Elon Musk wanted to build a rocket. –You can tell I love space right? But look at Google who created an identity that is integrated into every corner of the web and HP who dominated the personal computer industry.

The Space Broncos help organize events that tell the community about the different fields and careers in the space industry. Here we are with astronaut Steve Swanson who had just returned from space.
The Space Broncos help organize events that tell the community about the different fields and careers in the space industry. Here we are with astronaut Steve Swanson who had just returned from space.

You know what else, as a woman or minority it is an exciting time to be in the STEM careers. Employers are very interested in hearing your story, not just because of your gender or the color of your skin but also because of your background and unique ideas.

Hanging out with some other mentors and mentees who are learning about the college application process.
Hanging out with some other mentors and mentees who are learning about the college application process.

So if you want to know what it takes to make in the STEM field read some of my other posts on what I have done as an engineering student. You will see you need some stubbornness, a lot of curiosity and a dash of arrogance. Because we wouldn’t start big ventures unless we pushed aside some of the logical fears that come with it.

Written by:

Cami is about to start her senior year in Mechanical Engineering at Boise State University. She currently holds a Machine Learning internship at HP and is looking to break into industry with Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. After starting with the NASA Aerospace High School Scholars she has also participated in other NASA programs such as Microgravity University Undergraduate Research. She is also a committed and active volunteer for other STEM and Diversity groups and organizations. Stay tuned to see what she does next!

2 Comments

  1. I love this post Cami! I am so happy to share these values with you. I am not in a STEM field, but am excited to see current applications in STEM and arts and what the future holds – the future being those kids today who are exposed to these interesting and limitless areas of thought, imagination and creativity, inspired to get involved by people like YOU, Cami!

  2. 8/11/2015
    Reply

    Nice article. I agree with your points (including the focus on STEM, not STEAM) and would add that children are innately curious about how the world works. Science, Math and Engineering give them tools to explore and understand the world around them. Technology diversifies the ways of studying the world and sharing their understanding. No matter their field of interest, having a better understanding of the world will benefit students and help satisfy their desire to learn.

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