Joana is a 16 year old STEM enthusiast who gives talks and presentations in schools, universities and groups to engage them in STEM subjects. She is passionate about engaging more girls in STEM, and actively runs clubs, social groups and campaigns in order to do this. She loves all areas of science, and especially loves answering impossible questions. She blogs at jowhoblogs.wordpress.com.
You've probably seen the word STEM almost everywhere in the media, in school or just going about your day-to-day life. Simply typing in STEM education brings up hundreds of thousands of different articles debating the reason for its existence, its impact on the world and perhaps most importantly, why it should be taught.
I have always had a passion for STEM subjects, and coupled with the fact I have had a very privileged education, it was always strange to imagine the world where people do not get a STEM education, and even worse, do not believe in the importance of one. I am here to share with you the top three things I have learned from a STEM education, and why I think it is so fundamental to education today.
1. VALUABLE LIFE SKILLS
Whether you want to work in the STEM field or not, I guarantee you will need to implement and call on skills you have learned while studying STEM subjects. First and foremost, the advancing world of Computer Science within the working world has led to a shortage of those with the necessary skills to complete the ever more demanding and frequent tasks needed. Aside from that, the ability to problem-solve and think your way around hurdles are key skills that you learn while exploring the world of any STEM subjects which are super important when entering the working world. Most of all, however, the dedication, perseverance, and passion you display when pursuing your love for a STEM subject, for example, the sciences, is a quality that is highly valued.
2. DEVELOP A LIFE-LONG LOVE FOR THE SUBJECTS
Some people are born with a love of a certain subject, other's develop it. Before studying STEM subjects, I thought they were nerdy and boring, but the more I delved deeper into them I discovered that they all had a certain beauty about them. Chemistry, for example, teaches you about how it is that jelly jiggles, or helium is lighter than air, allowing you to have those balloons at your birthday party. In Physics, you discover how it is you're currently stood on Earth and not floating in space, not to mention why it is we circle the sun and learn about billions and billions of other space bodies out there. Science, and other STEM subjects for that matter, help you answer all the 'Why?' questions you had, but your parents could never answer, and there is a certain beauty in that.
3. MEET NEW, INTERESTING PEOPLE
The thing about the STEM community is that everyone shares similar interests. They are curious, always interested in learning more, and share a common passion for getting more people involved in the subjects they love. Approach anyone in a conference with a similar love for STEM, and you'll find something to talk about straight away. Some of my best friendships have come from meeting people from within this community and finding an instant connection with someone so like-minded. This is not to say that everyone within the STEM community is the same as you, and sometimes this can be even more beneficial. Meeting someone who has a totally different view on the same subject as you can help you develop your perspective of the world around you, and generate a more open minded approach to future questions you investigate. It's a win-win.
There are so many more reasons as to the importance of a STEM education, but only so many lines of text you will read before getting bored so I will leave you with this:
"The future belongs to the CURIOUS. The ones who are not afraid to TRY it, EXPLORE it, POKE at it, QUESTION it, and turn it inside out."