Top 10 Things to Know about STEM
- Many of the world’s leading national superpowers are globally successful due to their proficiency and accomplishment in STEM fields. Modern discoveries and revelations in science, technology, engineering and math are precisely what makes society progress and improve for the future.
- Women and girls are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields despite their talent and potential to be successful in these areas. While women make up almost half of the population, they account for only 24 percent of the STEM workforce1. Influential organizations, like STEM for Her, are striving to bridge the gender gap to create a stronger and more globally competitive and productive workforce.
- STEM was first coined as an educational concept in the early 2000s by the National Science Foundation2 and has since gained major publicity as an educational and economic movement. Scholars, educators and policy makers have recognized the importance of integrating STEM into early education in order to propel the U.S. and its youth to a global power for the future. Without STEM discoveries, the 21st century would not have remotely the same comprehension of gravity, genes, or space among other staples of mankind.
- The U.S. government is working tirelessly and aggressively to promote and encourage girls and women to become invested in and excited about STEM fields. There are significant government initiatives to provide accessible programs and information to young girls to foster their interest and engage them in a world of opportunities related to STEM. Some of these courses and events include mentoring, training programs, and the Educate to Innovate campaign3.
- The U.S. government and businesses are creating an abundant amount of STEM jobs that are far greater in number than the graduates that are prepared for these occupations. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 2008 to 2018, STEM jobs are expected to grow 17.0 percent compared to just 9.8 percent for non-STEM jobs4. This major increase in STEM jobs are predicted to go unfilled due to the lack of graduates prepared with the required skills to take on these incredible opportunities.
- Now is a better time than ever for girls and young women to break out of stereotypes and jump into science, technology, mathematics, and engineering fields. Women earn on average 33 percent more when employed in a STEM job as opposed to a non-STEM job5 and more these jobs are becoming available now than ever before.
- The future is endless and the horizons are broad for the field of STEM. Challenges and questions are posed every day for those invested in STEM careers to solve. Just a few of the barriers that technological thinkers are eager to transcend include securing cyberspace and providing access to clean water6.
- The U.S. is rapidly falling behind global competitors in STEM fields due to the inability to educate and train STEM graduates. Shockingly, the U.S. is ranked No. 48 in the world in quality of math and science education7. Sophisticated STEM education is essential to the ongoing international success of the U.S.
- STEM is apparent in almost every aspect of life. Creative and innovative minds have developed technologies that are used by everyone. From transportation to food production and biomedical advancements, STEM achievements are imperative to improving our daily functions.
- According to a Microsoft STEM survey, only one in five STEM college students felt that their K–12 education prepared them extremely well for their college courses in STEM8. One of the best ways to encourage and engage young people to study STEM fields is through the use of hands-on learning and real-life experiences.