Memorizing facts and statistics isn’t what drives mankind forward. It’s required to pass exams and understand core concepts, but it isn’t what truly drives us to become inventors, world leaders or Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Progression happens when we challenge norms to find new, better solutions. This is a particularly important concept to teach the next generation of great minds. Children should not just soak up answers from textbook pages, but analyze them, question them and search for a better solution.
This intellectual curiosity is the driving force behind science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. From elementary schools to universities, new STEM-focused, interactive lesson plans encourage students to not just absorb the answers but create them. Here’s a closer look at what a STEM education can offer our children today to turn them into innovators tomorrow.
STEM education: What Is It?
The STEM fields are among the fastest-growing industries. Each of these subjects is a large piece of the puzzle to solving some of the world’s largest crises. Although STEM studies generally focus on technical topics, it is not a rigid curriculum that leaves no room for ambiguity, theory or opinion. In reality, it is quite the contrary; STEM programs also explore the ethical and environmental implications of the student’s work. Students are taught to think about their studies and applications as a responsibility to improve life on earth. Graduates of STEM study programs understand these core subjects are all related, and their work has impact that goes far beyond the laboratory.
Learning in STEM settings
STEM-focused universities – particularly some of the nation’s top engineering colleges – have state-of-the-art facilities that allow students to apply textbook concepts to real-world problems, fine-tune interdisciplinary skills and become proficient with systems they’ll use later in their careers. Additionally, STEM instructors draw on their own experience in the field to advise students on best industry practices and offer one-on-one training. These teaching methods move the educational experience away from the textbook and give students a holistic view of the subject matter. These programs also provide hands-on industry experience, and equip graduates with the skills they’ll need to tackle industry problems.
A STEM education offers students better insight into the new processes, techniques and developments in each respective field. STEM graduates who enter the job market are better prepared to handle problems on their own, and easily adjust to their niche field.
Career Opportunity & Growth
It’s not just the technical lessons but the acquired leadership skills that make graduates of STEM degree programs valuable to employers. According to the Economics and Statistics Administration, “STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations.” Professionals in the STEM field remain students, the rest of their lives. As their industry continues to evolve, they must learn to change and grow with it.
Students who pursue a STEM degree set themselves up for a lifetime of learning, growing and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The amount of hard work and tenacity that goes into pursuing this degree is minimal compared to the rewarding ability to change the world through STEM.
As the Director of Admissions at Florida Polytechnic University, Lauren Willison is responsible for supporting the Vice Provost of Enrollment in managing recruitment efforts. She develops and coordinates on- and off-campus events, as well as manages the campus visit experience.