An Introduction to STEM Education
What is STEM?
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are a central part of our everyday lives. Though we may not always be aware of it, STEM practices are frequently used to solve the problems and inconveniences that we experience every day. Whether the problem is large (curing a disease) or small (how to fix that annoying noise in your car), many of life’s challenges and their solutions involve at least one aspect of STEM. STEM issues are everywhere in our lives. The need for increased STEM education hasn’t gone unnoticed. From early childhood education to the collegiate level, schools recognize the importance of teaching STEM subjects to students at every level.
Why is STEM education important?
According to the U.S. Department of Education, just 16 percent of high school seniors are both proficient in math and interested in working in a STEM field. This low percentage may be due to a misconception of the career possibilities tied to STEM fields. The increased focus on STEM education aims to get more children and teens involved in scientific and mathematical fields through classes, clubs and other educational programs. Generating interest in these fields is crucial because we need students in STEM fields to become the next generation of STEM professionals.
But it is not just doctors, scientists, and researchers who leverage STEM knowledge. Do you have an interest in animals, sports, space or in video games? There is an exciting science or technology job for you!
A STEM education has the potential to offer the promise of many job opportunities for years to come. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that STEM careers currently make up eight of the top 10 fastest growing occupations in the United States. Plus, the National Science Foundation has shown that the average annual growth rate has been three percent for all STEM professions from 1960-2013. That’s nearly twice the growth rate for all other jobs!
How to Get Started
First, talk to your kids about their interests in STEM. Does your child like sports? Sports medicine or wearable technology are good places to start. Do your kids love animals? They can consider careers as Veterinarians or zoo keepers!
Second, get your kids involved! Early participation can spark a lifelong interest. That’s why HughesNet has partnered with 4-H to inspire our country’s next generation of leaders in STEM. Each year the program reaches nearly 100,000 young people to cultivate an interest in STEM and grow future leaders. You can learn more about our partnership with HughesNet here.
Although 4-H programs provide children with many opportunities for STEM involvement, you may also find additional ways to engage in STEM learning in your area. Inspire the next generation of STEM leaders by encouraging them to get involved today.