“We are in a STEM talent crisis. Students do not see themselves in STEM jobs. Communities struggle to equip the next generation with STEM skills. Companies cannot hire or retain enough STEM workers.”
You can find these alarming facts stated in STEMconnector’s homepage, and they may seem like insurmountable challenges to overcome. But thankfully, there are many organizations putting their talent and resources together to change these facts. STEMconnector’s network, for example, represents 25+ million students, 3.5+ million educators and 2.6 million STEM jobs!
In addition to connecting members and helping forge new partnerships, STEMconnector also conducts valuable research which informs organizations on how to best align their resources for greater impact. Last month, MIND’s Chief Data Science Officer Andrew Coulson was invited to speak to the network about data and evaluation practices for K-12 edtech programs, and the high standards that MIND applies towards its own programming.
Being at the STEMconnector event was inspiring, and every time I spend time with our partners and see the passion they have for helping students, it leads me to reflect on the path that led me to where I am now.
Four years ago, I joined MIND Research Institute after meeting some of the most brilliant and mission-driven people I had ever known. MIND’s mission resonated with me at a very personal level. At the time, my youngest daughter, Angela, was a senior in high school. From 4th grade on, she failed almost every single math test she took. More times than I care to remember, she came home crying, asking me, “Mommy, why am I stupid?” If you’re a parent, you know these words can break your heart. I gave her every resource I could afford and countless nights working side-by-side with her on homework and test preparation to no avail. The hardest part wasn’t the disappointing test scores. The hardest part was watching them affect her self-esteem.
Then I sawDr. Matthew Peterson’s TEDx Talkand glimpses of ST Math. I knew immediately that that was how my daughter should’ve learned math. Instead of memorizing disconnected procedures, she would’ve understood problem solving concepts - visually and interactively. Angela is now attending Art Center College of Design and doing quite well, but she still talks about how difficult it was for her to learn math and how much it affected her confidence level.
A lot of organizations say they are mission-driven, it’s become a multi-industry buzzword. But here at MIND, we mean it and we love building and growing partnerships with like-minded organizations. Since taking on a new role as Executive Director of Social Impact at MIND last fall, I have had the honor of working more closely with MIND’s impressive partners.
STEMconnector will be releasing a report on their most recent research titled, “From Input to Impact: A Framework for Measuring Success Across the STEM Talent Ecosystem,” on May 2, 2019 at their annual summit. There, I look forward meeting more passionate individuals who also work for organizations that are ensuring all students have the confidence to pursue any career of their choice (including STEM) and become a generation that truly solve the world’s most challenging problems.