MAS President’s Blog – 6-23-13

DownloadedFile“Imagine one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals mentoring students in kindergarten through graduate school.

Imagine them providing uplifting moments of discovery to millions of children through real-world, hands-on projects and academic coaching.

This level of engagement could fundamentally change the trajectory of STEM education in the United States.”  – http://us2020.org/

What a powerful idea! Massachusetts – as one of the Nation’s leaders in the STEM industries – should challenge itself to be the first state to achieve the 2020 challenge! The goal is for each STEM industry to engage 20% of its employees in offering 20 hours of STEM mentoring per year.

How can we do this? Massachusetts is home to some of the most innovative and successful STEM organizations – many of whom would be delighted to help direct the enthusiasm and energy of STEM industry partners in innovative and fun programs of STEM mentoring. If you are a leader in a STEM industry in Massachusetts – I am prepared to work with you to find the right partner! Just contact me at PegRiley@massacademysciences.org and we can find the right solution for your employees.

Permit me to describe one such mentoring program that is starting to make a difference in the lives of our children. Engage in STEM, or E-STEM, started with the goal of partnering undergraduate STEM majors with middle and high school students engaged in independent research projects. The mentors help the students choose project ideas, design research experiments, analyze the resulting data, and communicate their findings in local, regional and state science fairs. E-STEM is rapidly expanding, already serving several hundred students in just two short years of existence.

Now, imagine if every STEM industry in the state were to pledge to partner with  E-STEM and help bring the program into a school in their neighborhood. The Academy would identify the partnering college or university to provide the middle and high school mentors and would work with the school to determine their precise mentoring needs. The partnering STEM industry would provide some of the following resources:

  • volunteers to visit classrooms and inspire the students about pursuing careers in STEM,
  • class trips so that students can SEE for themselves what it means to be engaged in STEM,
  • volunteers to serve as judges at science fairs or speak at local science fair cafes,
  • internships for students who excel in their science projects,
  • college scholarships for science fair winners,
  • or funds to support professional development opportunities for the teachers.

And this list is just the beginning… E-STEM is prepared to work with each STEM industry/school partnership to craft the combination of opportunities and resources that work best for them. If you are a  STEM company in Massachusetts – E-STEM is prepared to find the right partnership to fit your needs – contact Jenna Farrell at Jenna@massacademysciences.org to learn more about this exciting STEM outreach program.

If you already have a successful program of volunteerism in which your employees work with a local school district – let us showcase your efforts on the Academy’s website! Let’s work together to ensure that Massachusetts is the first state in the Nation to reach the 2020 challenge…

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