November 8th is National STEM / STEAM day. This is a national holiday in which we encourage people of all ages to explore, celebrate, and learn about their passions within science, technology, engineering, art, and math. And because of who we are as organization, it's a big day for us too.
At MIND Research Institute, our mission is to mathematically equip all students to solve the world’s most challenging problems, and in doing so, prepare them to become the future STEM workforce. Jobs in STEM fields will expand faster than non-STEM jobs, growing to more than 9 million by 2022. In order for students to become competitive members of the STEM workforce, all of us have a part to play to ensure that students are introduced to STEM topics, empowered to succeed, and supported with resources along the way.
We're Celebrating National STEM Day
Last National STEM day, we celebrated by providing a giant list of STEM resources. This year, we're asking a big question and rounding up a list of the responses from our organization and our partners.
So tell us. Who is your STEM hero? Share your answers in the comments below or use the social media hashtag #MySTEMHero!
What is a STEM Hero?
We’ve all had a STEM/STEAM hero impact us. Maybe your STEM hero is a mentor who supported you as you explored art. Or it could be a friend or a family member that introduced you to science and math. Or perhaps it's a teacher who was critical in helping you realize that a subject you thought was outside of your abilities, was actually within reach.
My STEM hero was my 9th grade biology teacher. Jennifer Starr was a kind, patient, and intelligent leader at my high school. Up to that point, I'd always thought I was bad at science and math. In fact, if you asked anyone in my family, they would have probably told you that I just "wasn't a math or science person."
As her class progressed, something clicked. It was one of the first times in school that I felt like I understood science. Jennifer Starr was the first teacher to inspire me in STEM and worked to ensure that I had a deep understanding of each concept. She pushed me to work hard and push through struggle (what I now know is productive struggle). She encouraged me to keep exploring—that science was for everyone. And if I had questions or needed support, she’d be there.
Not everyone has a Jennifer Starr in their lives, but thankfully, many of you were willing to share your own STEM hero. Here's what you had to say.
Who is your STEM hero?
VP of Engagement at MIND, Liz Neiman, was first to share. "My STEM Hero is Dr. Herb Abbott, who was my Honors Chemistry teacher. Dr. Abbott made sense of stoichiometry. He trusted me and my best friend with the job of reorganizing and labeling the lab stockroom (I'll never forget her face when I was holding a jar of mercury), and he gave me the confidence to speak up and speak out, which my colleagues will attest today that I have no problem doing. Dr. Abbott changed the lives of thousands of young ladies at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, and I'm honored to have been among them."
My STEM Hero is Dr. Herb Abbott, who was my Honors Chemistry teacher. Dr. Abbott made sense of stoichiometry...He gave me the confidence to speak up and speak out.
Director of Learning, Sandra Consilio, shared an inspiring organization working hard to provide STEM experiences for girls. "I've never met her, but my STEM hero is Flor Serna. Electric Girls was founded in Spring 2015 by Flor as a response to her experience as the only female recording engineer at Vital Sounds Recording out of Loyola University. Quickly joined by Maya Ramos, the pair founded Electric Girls to develop leadership skills in young girls through their learning of electronics and computer programming skills. I have followed her since she originally began her work. She has done an amazing job building Electric Girls in just a few short years."
I've never met her, but my STEM hero is Flor Serna. Electric Girls was founded...as a response to her experience as the only female recording engineer at Vital Sounds Recording out of Loyola University.
Maria Cervantes, Social Impact Director, West Region shared an admiration for the work being done by Eva Longoria. "Eva Longoria, is my STEM SHEro. She is way more than a beautiful, successful Hollywood business woman. Her master’s thesis from Cal State Northridge focused on Latinas in STEM careers. She supports organizations like Girls Inc. and TECHNOLOchicas, a nationwide campaign to increase visibility of brown women in STEM fields and educate Latino families of the opportunities STEM can provide."
Twitter Shares #MySTEMHero
Others took to Twitter to share their appreciation for the STEM heroes in their life.
Mamie Phipps Clark. Her use of the “doll test” would show the negative effects of segregation in schools and help win Brown vs Board of Education
I loved seeing that I had so many STEM heroes in common with other people. It was truly humbling to reflect on the contribution and significant positive change for the world that comes from the STEM community.
Share Your STEM Hero
Now, it's your turn to share! We'd love to hear who your STEM heroes are on the blog or across social media. And if you're looking for additional STEM resources, you've come to the right place.
For additional STEM resources from MIND and our partners, check out: