Happy (Belated) National Stem Day!
Just recently we celebrated National STEM Day, where we celebrate the achievements of those in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It is also the day where we renew our commitment to inspiring the next generation to follow in our footsteps. In my life, everyday is STEM Day! In fact, that’s why I missed posting on the actual day of True to the busy nature of my life, the craziness of summer has just rolled into fall with school programs and mini day camps. Hustle, hustle, hustle!
I have mentioned before that when I was younger, going into science was not my first choice by any means. It was not until I experienced the oceans and marine biology first hand, along side working scientists, that I fell in love with it all! I was blessed – I had the means, support and opportunity to be able to take part in that fateful school opportunity. I was also a stubborn ox (still am!) who pushed on with her goals come hell or high water, the rest of the world be damned. I have no idea where my life would be if I had not had the inner fortitude and ability to travel to the Florida Keys that summer. It breaks my heart to know that not everyone has the same opportunities and means. That knowledge was one of the big drivers behind me transitioning into education and starting this blog. I wanted to do something, however small it may be, to try to change that sad fact.
Soooo… what can we do about it? How can we make a positive impact? It may not be as hard as you may think. We don’t have to move mountains to make change!
To ease your mental load a bit, I came up with a few ideas off the top of my head. I’ll start off today’s suggestion with a heavy hitter. It’s the biggest suggestion, what I call ‘expert mode,’ but it’s so badly needed.
Be a Mentor
If you are in a STEM field or have a STEM degree, seriously think about getting involved with an organization or school that will allow you to share your knowledge and passion with the next generation. ESPECIALLY if you are young, a woman or a minority. Seeing someone that looks like them succeed in these fields is a HUGE factor in getting kids interested in pursing those careers. Too many youths become discouraged because they think they are not good enough. Be the voice that tells them that they ARE good enough. Also, applying to college and getting started down the STEM path is daunting and overwhelming. Imagine where you would be if you didn’t have help along the way?
Don’t have a STEM degree, but have the time and ability to be a mentor? Do it! You can still guide and encourage someone to follow their dreams.
If you are able to be a mentor, please please please consider becoming the advocate our kids desperately need. Not all superheros wear capes – some wear business suits or lab coats!