Written by: on October 29, 2019 @ 10:00 am

“Education at all levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—STEM—develops, preserves, and disseminates knowledge and skills that convey personal, economic, and social benefits. Higher education provides the advanced work skills needed in an increasingly knowledge-intensive, innovation-focused economy and society.” – National Science Foundation

STEM education, focusing on the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, allow the subjects to be taught as a united, real world model. While the United States has overwhelmingly been a leader in the STEM fields, lately fewer and fewer students are choosing these careers. While 28% of high school freshman declare an interest in STEM-related fields, 57% of these students will lose that interest before graduating high school.

The lack of inspiration and motivation necessary for students to succeed in STEM subjects is directly related to inadequate numbers of qualified teachers in the classroom. The Obama and Trump Administrations have made specific grants to be accessed by educators to enhance and support STEM learning. Tapping into these grants to develop more engaging, invigorating science education benefits students and their future career choices. 

STEM diverges from conventional science and mathematics teachings by showing students how they can apply the scientific method and scientific themes to everyday life, using STEM as a tool for understanding their world.  Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that begin at a very early age is lacking. Much of STEM education focuses on early education and the underrepresented populations in the STEM fields. Introducing STEM courses, raising awareness of the STEM occupations and fields, and igniting interested in pursuit of science are the fundamental objectives of STEM studies.

The representation gap within STEM fields is ever increasing. Male students are 3 times as likely to pursue a STEM career than female students. Within STEM graduates, male students are more likely to pursue engineering and technology fields while female students prefer the science fields of chemistry and biology. Looking further into the demographics of STEM fields, we see racial sparsity within career choices. Asian students have displayed the highest interested in STEM fields, where African American students have continuously dropped interest from being the most to least interested demographic. Work is needed by educators to ensure STEM fluency is habituated, regardless of students’ background, by delivering a quality learning environment to each child’s zip code.

STEM careers are of the most value, each focusing on applying scientific principals and problem solving.  STEM related jobs grew three times as quickly as non-STEM positions from 2000 to 2010. STEM careers are shown to be better paid, and more plentiful than many other careers. While the average salary in the United States is around $43,000, STEM occupations earn more than 12-30% across all education levels. Research shows that around 72-75% of STEM employees hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For each graduate with a STEM degree there are 1.73 jobs for each individual, compared to non-STEM occupations in which 4 individuals are competing for each job. Even so, many who hold STEM degrees work in other fields due to their competency. STEM degrees are in much higher demand, showing to be more competent in complex problem solving, troubleshooting, and reasoning.

Recent studies show that when high schools make additional science and mathematics courses available, there was no impact in the rate of which students declare a STEM college major. Teaching in traditional styles lack the effect of an invigorating educational experience. It is necessary for students to be engaged in STEM education to begat success. Hands-on science enrichment allows students to have a glimpse into what an exciting STEM career would emulate, simulating the rewarding future in the STEM fields.

High Touch High Tech was founded in 1994, long before the term “STEM” was popularized. We provide a hands-on science experience at a young age, supporting teachers in developing future STEM graduates. Today’s youth is being under served in STEM, lacking the full circle, real world implications that science supports and develops. High Touch High Tech programs reach over 16 million students annually, granting a discovery in young minds that will change the world.

Sources Cited:

Hom, E. “What is STEM Education?” Live Science, February 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/43296-what-is-stem-education.html

Smithsonian Science Education Institute. “The STEM Imperative.” STEMvisions, 2019. Retrieved from: https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative

Sawchuk, S. “Is STEM Oversold as a Path to Better Jobs?” Education Week, May 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/23/is-stem-oversold-as-a-path-to.html

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