As of recent years, several studies have shown that pre-college teens have a relatively low interest in STEM related careers. Another study, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, shows that from 2018-2019, only six percent of 2 million bachelor’s degrees went towards engineering studies in the United States. Yes, that includes all practices of engineering! Between the years of 2009 and 2016, many people of the STEM community including engineers, designers and other employees began to significantly worry about the future of engineering. However, the development of STEM in the US over recent years indicate that the future of engineering is in good hands. Between similarities in both a professional workplace and school environment, and expanded practices, which create exposure to new and intriguing skills, the projection of engineering seems to be headed in the right direction.
Entering the later stages in high school, the majority of students have no interest in STEM related careers. This is due to a variety of factors with the largest one being that their school doesn’t offer any programs or information regarding STEM. With that being said, there lies huge optimism as certain practices within a school environment heavily relates to those of a STEM workplace environment. As we look at the “non-engineering” aspects of an environment, these are the non-academic aspects of a career. These aspects include the collaboration on multiple disciplines within a project, interpersonal growth outside of a workplace, an easy-going environment to comfortably perform tasks, and simply just meeting amazing people! These significant factors that are found in a STEM workplace are the same factors that are found in pre-college education systems that helps pave a wider path to pursuing a STEM related career.
Recent studies suggest, earlier education systems are now shifting toward teaching STEM subjects as practices rather than an agenda. Teaching in practices include utilizing physical models from collected data from experiments and constructing ideas, opinions, and arguments. This modern way of education is thought of as more effective than teaching towards an agenda. When educating by agenda, studies based on the National Academy Press indicates the inclusion of disconnected topics tend to cloud the ability to use the knowledge and content that does not relate to an actual practice. When learning in this manner earlier on, it can be difficult to take the next step and apply this concept to an actual practice, which tends to put a challenging label on a STEM career earlier on for students. By using the practice method to learn new concepts, it helps create a bridge to becoming a better and more efficient worker in a STEM environment. These concepts are the same practices used by designers, engineers, project managers, and more positions in a STEM environment to help learn new ideas for certain projects and tasks. Practices of such tend to expose earlier students to new skills that are found and desired in a workplace such as better communication, the ability to build relationships, and the freedom to utilize their personal strengths.
The direction of our future lies in great hands as education systems are developing students to spark an interest and passion for STEM over the next few years! With new concepts of learning in practices at an earlier age, the connection of STEM to students will grow significantly as they develop into our next generation of a great community.
About Foresite Group
Foresite Group is a multidisciplinary engineering, planning, and consulting firm providing services to public and private sector clients nationwide. Our team’s collaborative process results in creative products and services that help our clients achieve their goals. Our team takes pride in enhancing and developing the cities and communities where we live, work, and raise our families.