If you spend some time talking with STEM professionals, you may be surprised to learn about the diversity of backgrounds, variety of influences that spurred interest and the passion they have for their jobs. After years of working with technology companies, some of the things I have learned are common themes, such as that STEM professionals/leaders love to make a difference and love to solve problems. Yes, they will also reflect on the challenging math and science coursework they had, but they will also talk about how engaging their work is. STEM careers are exciting because they are squarely in the vortex of innovative change, meaningful advances in technology and new discoveries.
A recent study conducted by the National Academy of Engineering concluded that the public image of engineering and engineers needs to adapt to the interests of today’s youth. It is increasingly important to find ways to break away from traditional engineer images and emphasize the hands-on, meaningful nature of STEM careers to inspire interest in young people from ALL backgrounds
. Today’s youth are interested in ways to make a difference and improve people’s lives.
Support a positive STEM role model – get out and meet an engineer or scientist! Support programs that offer outreach and experiential learning for youth in science, technology engineering and math. Good resources to start your networking include: the National Academy of Engineering, NASA
and the National Science Foundation.