We know that our nation’s talent and creativity are lost when we do not encourage young girls to explore the possibilities of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) job fields. These jobs pay better than the average job and can lift people out of poverty in one generation. Kids cannot dream what they cannot see, so we must share examples of female roles in these fields. YAAHA continues to share highly successful people who are represented in STEM fields.
So, how do we attract and encourage students, especially girls, to explore STEM careers? Since school-age children only spend 20 percent of their waking hours in school, we need to find enrichment opportunities within the communities that serve our children. Find role models in different fields to connect to the children, show fun videos of successful STEM professionals, take field trips to various businesses that represent STEM careers, and provide lesson plans that are creative and identify the importance of STEM within our lives. See if there is a STEM summer camp in your area or an after-school club to join.
The growth in the fields of STEM increases each year and has nearly doubled since 1990. As we coach young women to embrace these fields, we must teach a growth mindset that relies on diligence, ingenuity, and work ethic. If we are successful in our mentorship, we will show how STEM impacts the world within every aspect of society.
Finally, we must help our young women develop the skills needed to compete to be successful. Find an internship or volunteer to work in a research lab or STEM department for experience and make it fun!