Guest Author: Carmen Cornejo, Hispanic Market Liaison, AZ SciTech Fest & Principle, Criticalmassc.com
We STEM supporters are aware of the importance of STEM education and the benefits it brings to Arizona’s economy and that of America and its future. We strive to invite students to dive into the areas that will bring incredible knowledge and stronger job opportunities for their future. Great efforts and programs have being initiated in our communities but in order to be inclusive and tap all the creativeness and ingenuity available to us, we must allocate efforts to include often unrepresented communities in STEM education.
Women, people with disabilities, African American, Hispanics, and Native Americans do not have the numbers of individuals involved in many STEM fields where we need their visions for the future and contributions. We understand a successful field is one that is inclusive with opportunities for all.
This is especially critical for Arizona, which is set to become a minority majority state soon where the make-up of the young population, our future labor force, is different than previous generations.
How can we help to incorporate everybody into STEM fields? Having wonderful statewide programs like the Arizona SciTech Festival, which inspires individuals at all ages and levels to consider and enter STEM fields, is one of the components for success along with the work of our educational institutions, from K-12 all the way to college, providing the instruction and academic rigor needed to succeed. Researchers of STEM education point out the importance of setting specific outreach programs that target specific underrepresented populations. Here in Arizona we have great organizations and individuals who dedicate their efforts to share the gospel of STEM to all.
These efforts make the news s and make us all proud. They demonstrate that every student, no matter where she or he is or where he/she comes from can set their minds to achieving higher goals and expectations and can accomplish anything… with a little help from the community.