Monday, July 12, 2010

Careers in STEM

NASA recently launched Learning Technologies, a program designed to increase interest in space science through gaming. Learning Technologies just released their first game—Moonbase Alpha, in which a team of players works together to save a Lunar base that has been damaged by a meteor strike.

It may seem strange for a government organization to devote time to creating computer games for children. But Moonbase Alpha is more than just entertainment—it’s a part of a strategy by NASA to increase support for STEM education across the US.

Profiled on the website Ars Technica, the project manager for Learning Technologies, Daniel Laughlin, said that the project was developed as a direct response to the decline in STEM education in the US. Laughlin pointed out that “there are not enough students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to fill our national needs in those areas” and that “NASA literally cannot function without STEM graduates.” (Read the full article here .)

This got us thinking about what kinds of other opportunities there are for students to engage in STEM education and learn the practical skills necessary to be competitive in the workforce today. A quick search of the Directory brought up several programs designed to prepare students for careers in research, advocacy, and education in a variety of STEM fields. Below are some standouts:

  • Discover the Possibilities at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). This weeklong program exposes potential engineering students to all of the different opportunities in the field, giving them the tools to pursue their ideal engineering career.

  • Student Science Training Program (SSTP) at the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training. This prestigious research seminar teaches students the practical skills needed to conduct science research and to attain a career in science.

  • Pasadena Technology Camp at the CA Space Education and Workforce Institute. This weekend program provides computer literacy training to disadvantaged student populations, teaching them an essential skill needed in the workforce today.

  • Leadership Intern Field Training (LIFT) at Sustainable South Bronx. This internship gives high school students hands-on organizing experience in the growing field of environmental justice and gain advocacy skills that are applicable to many STEM fields

Do you know of a program that provides practical STEM career skills to high school students or young adults? Join the Coalition and add your opportunity to the Directory.

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