The one-stop shop for who's doing what in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
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In education policy circles, we spend so much time talking about young people that we sometimes forget to listen to them. Young people can have critical insights on schools and learning that escape the researchers and policy wonks. As we adults struggle to reform science education, we could stand to learn a great deal from students who, after all, have the most to gain from our efforts.
That realization spurred Change the Equation and the Amgen Foundation to survey high school students about what would get them more engaged in science — either in school or in their future careers. The findings of that survey, Students on STEM, reveal that high schoolers are very savvy: They know what good science education looks like, and they also know that their own science classes do not always measure up to this vision. They wish they had more opportunities to explore careers in fields like science.
Ask teens what they want out of biology class, for example, and they’ll tell you they would like opportunities for hands-on, real-world learning. The five teaching methods they would find most engaging bear this out: hands-on lab experiments, field trips to learn about biology outside the classroom, projects that relate biology to real life, simulated experiments and the power to choose topics they would like to explore further. Decades of research on science education confirm that methods like these are among the most effective for teaching science.
Ask teens what they actually get in their biology classes, and the picture becomes less rosy. Hands-on lab experiments are common, thank goodness, but “teaching straight from the textbook” is even more common. The result? Teens are lukewarm about their science classes in general and their biology classes in particular. Seventy-three percent of students say that they are interested in biology, but only 33 percent say they like their biology classes “a lot.” Science classes as a whole do a bit better, garnering 37 percent approval on average. Classes outside of science perform much better, however, with an average approval rating of 48 percent.
Teens are even less likely to encounter truly engaging science experiences outside of school than in school. High schoolers report that they don’t get much exposure to science outside of class, and few have opportunities to explore science careers. A mere 33 percent of teens have ever been involved in a science club or group, either in or out of school. Among lower-income teens, that number is lower still: 27 percent. And though large majorities of teens say they would like more opportunities to explore science careers, few have such opportunities. Eighty-three percent would like to shadow professionals in their jobs, for example, but only 19 percent say they have the opportunity to do so. When teens have so few options to explore science outside of school, they are unlikely to have experiences that inspire them to further their science education.
Fortunately, there are steps policymakers, educators and employers can take to make science much more engaging for young people. States can continue improving their science standards, supporting more engaging science curricula and helping prepare teachers to teach those curricula. Public and private funders can support more afterschool and summer school science programs in communities where young people have little access to such opportunities. (For an example of programs that meet a high bar, have a look at STEMworks Change the Equation’s honor roll of top STEM education programs.) Finally, businesses and other employers can help by sending their scientists into classrooms, helping create real-world science curriculum like the Amgen Biotech Experience or even providing hands-on, work-based learning opportunities.
At a time when science is playing a growing role in everything from our jobs to our health care, Americans can ill afford to squander teens’ natural interest in science.
Out of 19 countries tested in problem-solving with technology, U.S. millennials ranked dead last.
NEW YORK, NY (PRWEB) JUNE 10, 2016 | Much of the blame for this problem lies in a sorely lacking diversity when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects. That is why Mediaplanet is proud to announce the launch of its sixth edition of “STEM Education,” which aims to inspire and empower the next generation of future STEM leaders and showcase the organizations doing their part to help STEM diversify and reach its full potential.
“We need to do everything we can to help students foster a love for science and technology,” states Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST Robotics. ”We aim to showcase all of the amazing careers paths and opportunities that come along with STEM Education to the next generation of STEM professionals.”
The print component of “STEM Education” is distributed within the weekend edition of USA TODAY, in the New York, DC, Baltimore, Houston and San Francisco markets, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and an estimated readership of 750,000. Its digital component is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy, and across a network of top news sites and partner outlets. To explore the digital version of the campaign, CLICK HERE.
Talmesha Richards, the Chief Academic & Diversity Officer at STEMconnector adds: “The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration reported that women are 50 percent of the workforce, but only 24 percent of the STEM workforce.” In light of this, one of this campaign’s chief focuses is illuminating the importance of mentorship for girls and young women, how statistics clearly show it improves both careers and retention, and hopefully inspiring more to pursue a career in any of the various, STEM-related fields.
This campaign was made possible with the support of Change the Equation, DK Publishing, DJ Young Guru, FIRST Robotics, Qualcomm, Bedtime Math, NASA, Adobe, American Institutes for Research, Girls Who Code, EA Games, Sodexo, Million Women Mentors, STEMconnector, Amgen Foundation, West Virginia University, School Outfitters and National Academies of Science.
Mediaplanet is the leading independent publisher of content-marketing campaigns covering a variety of topics and industries. We turn consumer interest into action by providing readers with motivational editorial, pairing it with relevant advertisers and distributing it within top newspapers and online platforms around the world.
INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, June 14, 2016/National FFA Organization) | At the end of June, Dr. W. Dwight Armstrong will retire as chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization and Foundation, but his legacy in agricultural education and FFA will live on in a newly created endowment called "The Dwight Armstrong Legacy Endowment."
During his seven-year tenure with the National FFA Organization, Armstrong has overseen an era of dramatic growth and success. The organization has achieved an all-time record high membership of 629,367 and he solidified close collaboration and complementary strategic direction for both the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation.
"Dwight brought vision and leadership to our organization that has inspired our members, staff and volunteers across the country," said Molly Ball, President of the National FFA Foundation. "This fund will honor his legacy at FFA and continue his vision of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening American agriculture."
The Dwight Armstrong Legacy Endowment has two platforms. The first is the CEO Innovation Endowment platform. It establishes a fund that will provide future National FFA CEOs with a discretionary platform to pursue unique opportunities that promote leadership development for staff or to provide starter funds to further the FFA mission. The second platform, career success, will help fund the vision of "My Journey" which serves FFA members and partners with a direct pipeline to jobs and talent across the country.
“With his many years of being deeply involved in the agricultural industry, we hope his friends and associates will find this endowment to be a wonderful opportunity to honor Dwight and give back to an organization they care about,” Ball said.
Those interested in supporting the endowment can make a one-time gift or distribute the funding over the course of three to five years. Visit https://www.ffa.org/legacy for more information.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 629,367 student members who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 629,367 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.
About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit FFA.org/Give.
Hands-on workshop in San Diego provides middle school educators with tools to teach energy, sustainability and environmental concepts
MINNEAPOLIS, June 9, 2016 (PRNewswire) | Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today awarded 50 middle school teachers from 13 countries scholarships to attend its eighth annual Green Boot Camp, a four-day interactive sustainability workshop that provides educators with the information, experience and resources to bring lessons on energy efficiency, sustainability and the environment back to their classrooms.
Green Boot Camp is part of Honeywell's commitment to supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education worldwide. The workshop will take place June 19-23 in San Diego, starting with a welcome day at the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) Energy Innovation Center and then moving to the city of Escondido for hands-on learning on topics ranging from renewable energy technologies to green building materials.
In addition to teachers from the United States and Canada, Honeywell will welcome educators from China, India, Mexico, Brazil,Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Romania, United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines to this year's workshop. Attendees will gain environmental learning and leadership insights from energy experts in the San Diego area.
"Sustainability education offers an opportunity for educators to not only share insights in the classroom, but to inspire students to take those principles out into the real world and affect change," said John Rajchert, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. "Honeywell Green Boot Camp arms teachers with the latest practices in renewable energy and technology innovations, so they can prepare students for the green jobs of the future."
The Green Boot Camp curriculum will include expert-led activities such as designing and building solar houses, using watt meters to measure energy use and identify potential "energy vampires," as well as collecting and analyzing water samples. Teachers will build rain barrels at Escondido City Hall to donate to city's fire department, renovate the nearby Escondido'spocket park, and assemble compost boxes. Following the activities, teachers will convene to discuss how to apply the ideas and learning in their classrooms and within their respective subject areas.
"Honeywell Green Boot Camp was a fantastic educational experience, and the lessons I gained were ones I was able to easily apply in my middle school science classroom and share with other educators in my district," said Susan Koppendrayer, Calvin Christian School teacher and past Green Boot Camp attendee. "From building wind turbines to learning about renewable energy initiatives in our own state, I've been able to better educate my students on important topics and concepts, and I'm grateful for Honeywell's support."
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.
Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate citizenship initiative, focuses on five areas of vital importance: Family Safety & Security, Housing & Shelter, Science & Math Education, Habitat & Conservation, and Humanitarian Relief. Together with leading public and non-profit institutions, Honeywell has developed powerful programs to address these needs in the communities it serves. For more information, please visit http://citizenship.honeywell.com/.
Friday, June 10, 2016 (3BL Media) | While expanded globalization is swiftly increasing the competitive landscape for most businesses, it is also creating many more opportunities (and choices) for top STEM talent. The U.S. Department of Commerceprojects that STEM occupations will grow by 17 percent between 2008–2018, compared with only 9.8 percent for non-STEM fields. In addition, the nonprofit Science Pioneers, expects demand for STEM professionals to add more than 1 million jobs to the U.S. workforce over the next four years. Compare this with the number of bachelor degrees in STEM-related fields, which has remained relatively flat for nearly 20 years, and you can clearly see the talent-gap most businesses will have to deal with. To make matters worse, the U.S. Department of Education reports that only 16 percent of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers.
Employers need to pay close attention to the anticipated talent shortfall. Going forward, establishing a pipeline of qualified talent will be far less dependent on geography and far more focused on creating attractive work environments that offer top STEM talent the incentives, choices and opportunities they are seeking. Now the battle for talent, markets, innovations and information is global. People specializing in the traditional STEM fields such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are swiftly becoming the most sought-after employees.
For organizations to successfully identify, recruit, develop and retain top STEM talent they need to change their approach by focusing on the Power of Three:
Incentives: Why does anyone, do anything? Essentially, the answer is to gain something of perceived value or to avoid perceived pain. We have to incentivize people, especially women and people of color, to consider a STEM profession. Of course there are the economic incentives. In fact the average STEM salary is already nearly twice the average U.S. salary. But there are other incentives such as flexible work arrangements, part-time assignments, on-site child care, concierge services, resource groups and an overall company commitment to work-life balance.
Choices: We all have choices – we may not always like our choices – but we have them. And there is a wide range of choices associated with successfully increasing the number of people pursuing STEM careers. Think of it as a ‘choice chain’ – like a value chain or a supply chain – that ultimately must be synchronized and work in harmony to be effective. Choices must be made by legislators, business leaders, community influencers, education administrators, teachers, parents and students…and we need to encourage everyone, at every level of the ‘choice chain’ to think critically and carefully about the importance of STEM and their role in supporting and encouraging it.
Opportunities: Visionary leaders and forward-looking companies create great opportunities. That is how they secure the best talent and motivate those individuals to exceed expectations. It is as simple as that. Mentoring, training & development and stretch assignments are all great ways to ignite passion and inspire achievement, especially in populations that may not have role models. You have to design opportunities that meet people where they are and prepare them for success. This is good for the individual and good for the business.
To be competitive in the global marketplace a strong and sustainable STEM talent pipeline has to be established. Organizations that focus on the Power of Three to develop their STEM workforce will be better able to understand and leverage Incentives,provide an environment that supports informed Choices and seize the opportunity to create Opportunities.
Steve Cox leads Public Relations for Sodexo North America with $9B in annual revenue, 125,000 employees, 9,000 operating sites and 15 million consumers served daily.
On April 28th, 2016 STEMconnector in conjunction with 25 strategic partners hosted the Global STEM Talent Summit (GSTS) at Gallup World Headquarter in Washington, DC. There, we sat down for an interview with Dr. Heidi Kleinbach-Sauter, the chair of the GSTS and SVP, R&D, PepsiCo. Under her leadership, GSTS has moved beyond raising awareness and now transitioned from theory into action. Watch Heidi as she discusses the future of GSTS strategic plans and defines the "STEM Praxis Moment".
Check out more videos from GSTS on the STEMconnector YouTube Page and join in on the ongoing conversation on social media using #GSTS2016!
NEWARK, N.J., June 1, 2016 (PRNewswire) |The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) today announced the results from a Hanover Research study analyzing the performance outcomes on the Praxis physics and chemistry assessments among science teacher candidates prepared by CTL and those prepared by other institutions in New Jersey and across the United States. Differences in both the representation of minority and female students were also examined. [The full report is available at: http://njc.tl/1b2].
The Praxis Series® tests measure teacher candidates' knowledge and skills. The tests are used for licensing and certification processes.
Significantly, CTL graduates who have previously served as teachers in other subjects and have learned physics or chemistry in 12 to 18 months show equal proficiency in these subjects, passing the Praxis test at the same rate as those who learn physics or chemistry over many years of study by traditional means. Thus, rather than solely depending on STEM majors to meet the vast shortage of science teachers across the country, CTL effectively equips current teachers who are certified in other disciplines to successfully teach STEM courses.
Minorities and women are also much more highly represented among physics teacher candidates who are prepared with CTL training; and minorities are significantly more highly represented among CTL-trained chemistry teachers as well. This model can thereby provide the availability of new physics and chemistry teachers who better reflect the current racial and ethnic makeup of students in American schools and facilitate broader diversity in accessible STEM role models.
CTL's innovative new pedagogy uses new technology such as interactive white boards for engaging instruction and polling devices for real time assessment, as well as a highly collaborative classroom structure that helps every student fulfill their potential. The same pedagogy that proved successful for high school physics and chemistry students has proven successful in preparing their teachers as well.
Percent Female and Minority of CTL and non-CTL groups
*CTL significantly different than non-CTL group
In addition to producing new physics and chemistry teachers through its certification programs, CTL provides ongoing support in the classroom with professional development opportunities and free curricular resources during the school year.
CTL has become the #1 producer of physics teachers in the country and was accepted in 2015 by 100Kin10 as one of 236 "Best in Class" partners working to achieve President Obama's goal of 100,000 new mathematics and science teachers by 2020.
Dr. Robert Goodman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Center of Teaching and Learning said, "We are very pleased to help build a pipeline of capable STEM teachers who include a strong representation of women and minorities. Providing high quality physics and chemistry education to previously underserved populations increases social justice and better prepares our country's next generation for global competition."
Wendell Steinhauer, President of the New Jersey Education Association said, "This program is a great example of what we can accomplish when we empower educators to lead and innovate. Our members are the foremost experts on what students need to thrive, and they are passionate about providing those opportunities. This program has been so positive for science education because it placed educators in the lead, and they have taken it to great places."
Specific additional key findings in the Hanover Research study included:
There are slight differences between CTL students and their non-CTL counterparts in New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. that vary by the passing measure. Specifically, CTL students are somewhat less likely to pass on their first attempt, but slightly more likely to pass overall.
CTL students are more likely to pass the chemistry exam by approximately 10 to 14 percentage points, on average, compared to non-CTL students in New Jersey and students in the rest of the U.S. However, these marginal effects at the means are not statistically significant.
Women and Minorities
Women and minorities in all groups are less likely to pass the physics or chemistry Praxis exams compared to males and non-minority peers.
About CTL:The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to empower teachers to lead change so that all children have access to a high quality education.
CTL believes the best way to improve education is to invest in teachers by creating changes that make their work less isolated, simpler, more effective, and less stressful. This belief has propelled CTL to an unparalleled track record in rapidly increasing the supply of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers and advancing student STEM attainment. The New Jersey Education Association created the organization in 2007; and its support and participation continues today.
The report categorizes the TVE market in North America into three major product segments. They are:
STEM TVE market: largest segment
In 2015, the STEM TVE segment was the highest revenue contributor to the market in North America and accounted for 48.61% of the market share. This segment will likely continue to dominate the market in the next four years.
Companies in the region opine that there is a deficit in the number of workers with expertise in STEM disciplines. Technavio researchers estimate that by 2018, the US will have more than 1.2 million jobs related to STEM skills. At present, with 3.48 million vacant jobs, the skill gap is evident in the manufacturing sector in the US. The inability to fill vacancies with workers having specialized skills has had repercussions on companies, especially on their innovations and business expansions and primary agenda of improving customer satisfaction.
Jhansi Mary, a lead analyst at Technavio for education technology research, says, “Businesses face challenges while meeting customer demand, production-level targets, and implementing new technologies due to the shortage skilled workforce. The increase in awareness on the rise in skill gaps is driving people in North America to invest in TVE. This measure will assist individuals to be equipped with the necessary practical knowledge about the industry. Emerging high-demand sectors include aeronautics, automotive, HVAC, and electronics.”
Non-technical TVE market: second-largest segment
“The non-technical TVE market in North America is expected to grow at a consistent pace during the forecast period. The non-technical TVE market is growing following an increased demand for skills in the fields of legal studies, nursing, hospitality, tourism, criminal justice, and security,” says Jhansi.
In the legal field, opportunities are abounding for those having skills such as legal transcription and office management. These skills will lead to a career as a legal secretary, law clerk, or paralegal. In the nursing and medical field, TVE can open doors to careers such as nursing assistant, surgical technologist, medical assistant, and phlebotomists. The hospitality and tourism sector in North America is also booming due to an increase in consumer interest in leisure and recreation. The spa and wellness sector is also developing. With so many job opportunities a growing number of people are enrolling in vocational training programs to improve their specialization. The above factors will drive the growth of the non-technical TVE market during the forecast period.
Other TVE segments
The others segment of the TVE market in North America was valued at USD 24.7 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 26.26 billion by 2020 growing at a CAGR of 1.23%.
The others segment of the TVE market in North America is expected to grow at a consistent pace. This is because students taken up unconventional job opportunities as freelancers or are self-employed to express their creativity and individualism. These involve vocational skills are web development, photography, interior designing, and massage therapy among others.
The top vendors highlighted by Technavio’s research analysts in this report are:
Purchase these three reports for the price of one by becoming a Technavio subscriber. Subscribing to Technavio’s reports allows you to download any three reports per month for the price of one. Contact email@example.com with your requirements and a link to our subscription platform.
About Technavio Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company. The company develops over 2000 pieces of research every year, covering more than 500 technologies across 80 countries. Technavio has about 300 analysts globally who specialize in customized consulting and business research assignments across the latest leading edge technologies.
Technavio analysts employ primary as well as secondary research techniques to ascertain the size and vendor landscape in a range of markets. Analysts obtain information using a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches, besides using in-house market modeling tools and proprietary databases. They corroborate this data with the data obtained from various market participants and stakeholders across the value chain, including vendors, service providers, distributors, re-sellers, and end-users.
150 middle school students nationwide receive scholarships; schools receive matching grants for math education initiatives
WALTHAM, Mass., June 3, 2016 (PRNewswire) |Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) awarded $300,000 in scholarships and grants to middle school students and their schools as part of its MathMovesU® program, an initiative designed to engage middle school students in math and science. Each of the 150 middle school students from across the United States will receive a $1,000MathMovesU Middle School Scholarship to be used for a math, science or technology camp or program, or saved for the first year of college. Additionally, each recipient's school will receive a matching grant from Raytheon.
The 150 scholarship recipients were selected from a pool of 6th, 7th and 8th grade student applicants who created multimedia presentations that illustrate the importance of math in the world around them. Student submissions were evaluated on creativity, originality, time commitment and the use of math equations to demonstrate an enthusiasm for the subject.
The MathMovesU Middle School Scholarships are just one way Raytheon highlights the importance of math to the 21st century workforce. Raytheon engages with the MathMovesU community of educators, parents, non-profit partners, policy-makers and students to explore the different efforts under way to improve STEM education and inspire the next generation of innovators.
Raytheon Company, with 2015 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 94 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I™ products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.
Thursday, June 2, 2016 - (3BL Media) | Bechtel is among the most respected global engineering, project management, and construction companies, and a cornerstone of innovation in the industry. Together with our customers, we deliver landmark projects—the modern marvels of the world—that foster sustainable progress and grow economies. Corporate Social Responsibility or Stewardship, is Bechtel’s commitment to harness our human capital and resources to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and to help improve the quality of life in communities where we live and work.
Bechtel and its employees play an important role in developing the next generation of engineers, scientists and technologists in our country, and we recognize that future leaders will need strong math and science backgrounds to solve the complex problems we face. Bechtel is a signature sponsor of five key programs: DiscoverE; Engineers Without Borders; FIRST®; Junior Achievement Worldwide®; and Ocean Exploration Trust. Since 2011, our STEM investments totaled nearly $10 million.
Bill Dudley is chief executive officer of Bechtel Group, Inc., and has served as a member of the company’s board of directors since 2000. Since joining Bechtel in 1981, Mr. Dudley has served in a variety of engineering, project management, and executive management positions globally. He became president of the Oil, Gas & Chemicals business unit in 2001, assumed leadership of the Mining & Metals business unit’s Latin America and Oceania regions in 2003 and Asia in 2004.
Prior to these assignments, Mr. Dudley was located in London, where he served as president of Bechtel’s Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia organization, responsible for all Bechtel business lines in the region. Mr. Dudley also served as Bechtel’s general manager for Southeast Asia, country manager for Thailand, and general manager of Bechtel’s pipeline business in Asia.
Mr. Dudley was elected a senior vice president in 1997 and became Bechtel’s president and chief operating officer in 2008. He was elected chief executive officer in 2014. Mr. Dudley holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Purdue University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston. He currently serves on the board of the Engineering Advisory Council at Purdue. Mr. Dudley is a Business Roundtable member, and actively participates in numerous charitable organizations.
Studies suggest that students’ interest in STEM subjects tends to weaken when they reach middle school, so the challenge is to work even harder to gain their interest early. One of the most successful programs we’ve seen to achieve this has been through our partnership with FIRST®, which uses the excitement of building a robot to engage kids from elementary through high school. FIRST programs have volunteer mentors who work with local robotics teams weekly, which allow students to really get to know their mentors. Frequently we host FIRST workshops in Bechtel facilities because we know students value seeing what a professional work environment looks like.
Similarly, it’s more likely that girls and minority students will pursue STEM careers if they have the opportunity to meet and interact with professionals who look like them and come from similar backgrounds. At Bechtel, we prioritize efforts that promote minorities and women in engineering, including leadership in the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and Women in Nuclear. In 2013, we launched Women@Bechtel, a new employee resource group for women and men who support gender inclusiveness at Bechtel. We encourage our colleagues to dedicate time to visiting local schools and volunteering with students to give back to their communities. Often, the simple act of talking with these young people, asking them about their goals, and helping them learn about what it’s like to be an engineer is a pivotal conversation. It’s a truly empowering experience for these volunteers when they realize the potential impact they can have on the direction their students’ lives may take.
It’s especially important in the conversations we have with young people to make sure we are sending out the right message. Young people are curious by their very nature, and so are the best engineers. So we have to capitalize on that curiosity by showing them that engineering and STEM subjects in the professional world are an opportunity to help solve the world’s greatest puzzles, such as resource scarcity, urban growth, and the need for sustainable sources of power. Bechtel colleagues work on these problems every day, and so their stories and experiences are the best source of inspiration for young people. Last year, a Bechtel-sponsored FIRST® LEGO League team from Chile was recognized among hundreds of others for its innovative solution for helping people prepare for, stay safe during, and recover from natural disasters. The experience of living in a part of the world where flooding, earthquakes, wildfires and other natural disasters are all too common has inspired these young people to be part of the solution. They developed a low-cost plan of embedding retroreflectors and LED lighting in roads to guide people in a tsunami evacuation. It’s experiences like these where we can truly see the value of engaging with young people about engineering – we have the opportunity to help light the spark of some truly remarkable future engineers.
At Bechtel, we build projects that transform lives and communities, and we make it a point to share this bigger picture with students we mentor, with interns, college hires, and in our approach to the work we do. Our work with Engineers Without Borders; DiscoverE; and FIRST® is a perfect fit, because these partnerships depend on dedicated, passionate employee volunteers who go the extra mile to spark passion in students.
I am most proud of the fact that for 25 years, Bechtel has played a key role in creating and growing DiscoverE, which was previously known as Engineers Week. In 1990, CEO and Chairman Steve Bechtel, Jr. chaired the first US-wide Engineers Week, and since then, the organization has supported 5 million students and teachers through the participation of more than 50,000 engineers. During Engineers Week this year, Bechtel colleagues reached out to over 5,500 students through classroom presentations and other events featuring hands-on engineering activities and mentoring.
One of the things I love most about DiscoverE is that it empowers anyone with a love of STEM to get out there and engage students. You don’t have to be an engineer or a scientist – all that’s needed is the desire to introduce children to STEM subjects in a way that leaves them wanting more. DiscoverE provides all the information and resources needed, including engineering activities that ignite students’ creativity and critical thinking, and the ability to talk to kids about engineering in a way that sparks their curiosity and inspires them to learn more.
DiscoverE initiatives such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and the Global Marathon For, By, and About Women in Engineering & Technology in particular are outstanding involvement opportunities for our colleagues and leadership. These initiatives are designed to encourage girls and young women to enter the STEM field, and also ensure that they have ample opportunities for growth and continued success once they enter the field.