TWO EASY WAYS TO BUILD STEM EDUCATION OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

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Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, but only 16 percent of high school seniors are interested in pursuing careers in these fields. While there has been a lot of conversation surrounding the role of the education system, engagement in STEM outside of school can be just as important when it comes to sparking youth interest in STEM.

It Starts at Home

Research shows that parents who talk to their high school students about the relevance of math and science can help to increase both competency and career interest in these fields. Alongside ongoing conversations about the importance of STEM, thinking of fun and interesting ways to incorporate STEM activities into children’s lives after school can also help inspire students.

  • Practical experiments: Instead of leaving STEM education to the books, try building a sand volcano or creating a roller coaster out of straw.
  • Mentorships: When it comes to high school-aged students, consider working on STEM literacy skills as a family or setting them up with a STEM mentor. Giving students an extra push outside of school is the key when it comes to fostering an interest in STEM careers.

Misha Malyshev and the rest of the Teza Technologies team are committed to inspiring the next generation of STEM stars through the support of organizations like After-School All-Stars and the Adler Planetarium.

THE WOMEN OF NASA: NEW LEGO SET CELEBRATES THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN STEM

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Americans have made great strides over the past few years to encourage more young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). But the fact remains that while women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they are still underrepresented in STEM fields. Women comprise 39 percent of chemists and material scientists, just 28 percent of environmental scientists and geoscientists and only 16 percent of chemical engineers.

Research has shown that fostering an interest in STEM needs to begin at a young age. That’s why we’re so excited about this recent line from LEGO – “Women of NASA”. By featuring some of NASA’s most famous women, including luminaries such as Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride, NASA isn’t just acknowledging the important role these women have played in NASA’s history, they’re also providing important inspiration for young girls and boys who may be interested in pursuing STEM careers. Bravo!

At Teza Technologies, Misha Malyshev and team are working to inspire children of all ages to pursue careers in STEM through the support of organizations like After-School All-Stars.

INTRODUCING AFTER-SCHOOL ALL-STARS & TEZA TECHNOLOGIES’ STEM RESOURCE GUIDE

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Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are in high demand. STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, but only 16 percent of high school seniors reported interest in pursuing STEM careers. What’s more, there are serious racial and gender gaps when it comes to STEM education (a recent report from Google and Gallup found that black students are less likely to have access to computer science in the classroom).

That’s why we’re proud to present our new STEM resource guide. Developed in partnership with After-School All-Stars (ASAS), this guide provides information about the state of STEM education, ideas for ways to engage students in STEM activities at home, and information about the work we’re doing in partnership with ASAS to inspire the next generation of STEM superstars. Through this resource guide and other initiatives, the entire team at Teza Technologies is committed to highlighting the importance of STEM education.

WHAT IF WE TREATED FEMALE SCIENTISTS LIKE CELEBRITIES?

From buzz surrounding the new film about NASA’s female mathematicians Hidden Figures to discussions about the opportunities for women in data science, there has been a lot of great news about women in STEM lately. One of the most exciting pieces of news is General Electric’s new campaign focused on closing the gender gap. GE has promised to place 20,000 women in technical roles by the year 2020, and is working towards equal gender representation in all of their entry-level technical roles. But our favorite part of this campaign is this inspiring commercial focused on female scientists – “What If Scientists Were Celebrities?

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When it comes to inspiring young girls and women to pursue careers in STEM, representation in films, television and other forms of popular media is essential. We applaud GE’s campaign to highlight the (often untold) stories of women in STEM. At Teza Technologies, Misha Malyshev and the rest of our team are working to inspire young children to pursue careers in STEM by supporting incredible organizations like After-School All-Stars and the Adler Planetarium.

Celebrate Computer Science Education Week!

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is upon us! Organized by Code.org and held in recognition of trailblazing computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hooper’s birthday (December 9, 2016), CSEdWeek is dedicated to inspiring students of all ages to take an interest in computer science! Students are also encouraged to try an “Hour of Code” – a one-hour tutorial (available in over 45 languages) geared towards showing students just how fun programming can be!

What you need to know about U.S. computer science education:

There are more than 500,000 unfilled computing jobs in the United States, yet only 42,969 computer science graduates from U.S. universities entered the workforce in 2015. Only 40% percent of K-12 schools teach computer science courses, and only 32 states allow these courses to count towards graduation requirements.  Furthermore, new research from Google and Gallup reveals that there are serious issues related to racial and gender diversity in the field. While black and hispanic students are more likely to be interested in learning computer science, these students have less exposure to computers. The same research revealed similar issues when it comes to girls – boys are 1.5 times as likely to be told they’d be good at computer science by teachers and 1.7 times as likely to receive the same encouragement from parents. Boys are also twice as likely to see someone like them doing computer science in the media.

Get involved with #CSEdWeek!

When it comes to encouraging a love for computer science, or any STEM subject for that matter, it’s important to start early. A recent survey asked a group of 1,000 middle school students around the U.S. if they preferred math homework or eating broccoli. The winner? Broccoli (by 56 percent).

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Eat your vegetables! Math homework is less popular than eating broccoli for middle schoolers.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get your kids interested in coding and STEM from a young age. There are toys, coding programs and afterschool programs all geared towards generating interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Additionally, check out this list of resources created especially for Computer Science Education Week.

While putting the focus on computer science is certainly important this week, it’s important to encourage children to pursue careers in computer science and other STEM fields year round. At Teza Technologies, Misha Malyshev and his team are working to inspire the next-generation of computer scientists and STEM heroes through the support of organizations like Adler Planetarium, buildOn and After-School All-Stars.

 

ASAS STEM CAMPUS EVENT LETS OUR EMPLOYEES GIVE BACK

This is a guest post by two Teza employees, Kelly and Lou, about their recent volunteer experience at After-School All-Stars STEM CampUs event, sponsored by Teza Technologies. STEM CampUs is a five-day immersion program that prepares at-risk eight graders for high school and encourages them to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev are proud to support events like STEM CampUs that provide educational opportunities for students.

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Lou: Focused on encouraging STEM pursuits

As a father of two children, it was great to be able to volunteer with a program focused on encouraging students to pursue an education and career in STEM. Both professionally and personally, this is a passion of mine. For example, my 11-year-old son is especially interested in video games, so I’ve been working to translate his love of video games into a broader understanding of STEM.

At STEM CampUs I had the opportunity to judge the STEM app competition. I was impressed by how much thought the students had put into their presentations. When we asked them questions it was clear they’d considered the different kinds of feedback they might receive from the judges and the audience. The thoroughness of their presentations and their overall preparedness was truly remarkable!

After the competition, Kelly and I were able to sit down with some of the students for dinner and one-on-one conversations. I was happy to answer their questions about pursuing a career in STEM and to share my experience majoring in computer science and how I came to work at Teza.

Overall I had a great time getting to know the students and learning more about their individual interests and goals. I’m looking forward to participating in more events like this in the future!

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Kelly: Learning about students’ passion for STEM

While Lou was judging the STEM app competition, I enjoyed viewing the presentations as a member of the audience. Like Lou, I was very impressed with how much work the students had put into their creations!

For me, the best part of the event was talking with the kids during dinner. For example, I had a great conversation with a young girl who was hoping to attend Temple University in the future. She told me about how much she loves Philadelphia, her family and siblings, and how much she had enjoyed her time at STEM CampUs. I was blown away by her maturity – she was extremely goal-oriented and it was great to hear about her plans for the future and how ASAS was helping her along her path.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the event, and I’m looking forward to more ways that we can support ASAS in the future, including through ASAS’s Climb 4 Kids event in October!

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HOW WE CAN SUPPORT WOMEN IN STEM

Women’s roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics have been making headlines lately, and it isn’t all bad news. From the focus on women’s roles in the tech sector at the White House’s recent United States of Women Summit to more and more groups focused on driving greater participation of women in STEM, it’s exciting to see all the work being done to support women in these fields. Despite these moves in the right direction, we’re still a long way from closing the gender gap in STEM. At some leading tech companies, only 10 percent of women occupy tech jobs. Furthermore, a recent study found that only 11.2% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering were awarded to minority women. The numbers are clear – there’s still work to be done.

Initiate a Love of STEM 

First things first. When it comes to STEM education, it’s important to start early. Pages upon pages have been devoted to the barriers to STEM education in the United States. Nine out of 10 schools don’t offer computer programming, and only 37 percent of students enjoy their science class. These issues need to be addressed, but there are also resources for parents interested in inspiring their daughters to explore STEM. In fact, 68 percent of teen girls interested in STEM say their fathers played a key role in encouraging them. From building things with your daughter to encouraging her to play with toys that will spark her interest in science and engineering, parents are on the front lines when it comes to early STEM education.

Create Workplace Opportunities

Despite the fact that research shows tech companies excel with women leaders, a recent survey found that at the top U.S. tech companies only 18 percent of women hold leadership positions. Something has to change – it’s time for men to get serious about encouraging equality in tech. Men in STEM industries can start by helping women network, assisting women in their job searches by sharing contacts and, most importantly, speaking up on behalf of women in the workplace.

Convene as Leaders

Finally, we need to take a step back and think about broader systematic issues barring women’s entry into STEM education and professions. At the White House’s recent United States of Women Summit, Mary Wilson Arrasmith, a high school instructional strategist coordinating technical education, commented, “Create an army of folks around you–counselors, teachers–celebrate those different activities and events. It’s important your leadership be fully engaged in the message of equity.” Meetings like this, which bring together leaders in education, business and government, are a critical piece of the puzzle as we all work together to bridge the gender gap in STEM.

 

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At Teza Technologies, Misha Malyshev and employees have been working closely with organizations that are working to inspire girls and boys alike to develop an interest in STEM from an early age. Through support of organizations such as buildOn, Adler Planetarium and After-School All-Stars, and our involvement with key programs such as Girls do Hack, the Noble Stem Expo, Hour of Code and Junior Research Scientists, we’re hoping to inspire the next generation of engineers and coders.

A Look at Why Women in STEM are Switching Careers

The science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields have historically been dominated by men. Although there are increased numbers of women working in STEM, there continues to be a lack of female representation. It was reported earlier this year that women comprise of just 28 percent of employed science and engineering professionals.

Why Women Leave STEM

For the women that go on to pursue careers in STEM, more than half leave them within a decade, which is close to twice the frequency of men in those fields. There have been many different reasons that have been introduced in regards to this occurrence, one being a difference in values between men and women. Whereas men focus more on short-term items such as cost reduction, hierarchy, and resource constraints, women value accountability, balance, continuous improvement, coaching/mentoring and empowerment. Although men also find bureaucracy and hierarchy to impede their achievement, they are more likely to endure the dissatisfaction and continue working. Women, on the other hand, tend to leave for another career when they encounter unnecessary obstacles in their work.

Another reason associated with women leaving STEM jobs is sexual harassment. This is more prevalent in Silicon Valley, where 60% of women have reported being the target of unwanted sexual advances from a superior and 90% have witnessed sexist behavior at company offsites and/or industry conferences. More statistics from the report can be found here.

Additionally, there is the perception that women do not have the traits needed to succeed in science. In a study done by Wellesley College, women were viewed as having communal characteristics such as caring and unselfish, whereas men were associated with agentic characteristics including competitiveness and courageousness. The study revealed that people tend to associate scientists with agentic characteristics and that women appear to be incompatible with science. These cultural stereotypes are creating barriers for the women of today and future generations of women that aspire to be engineers or scientists.

Shaping the Future of Girls in STEM

In recent years, there has been a push for not only increased STEM programs in schools, but also programs tailored to girls to peak their interest and open their eyes to new opportunities. Misha Malyshev and employees from his company, Teza Technologies, support many organizations including buildOn, Adler Planetarium, After-School All-Stars and After School Matters that provide programs that inspire young children to dream of being future engineers or coders. Such programs include Girls Do Hack, Hack Day, Noble STEM Expo, Hour of Code, STEM CampUs, and Junior Research Scientists. Throughout the programs, girls can gain confidence by supporting each other, build a network of peers and find mentors/role models. It’s through these and similar programs where they hopefully begin to break through barriers – where their thoughts are heard, their actions are admired and they are no longer looked upon as inferior.

The push for STEM education in elementary school and earlier

Recent news shows that middle and high schools are increasing spending on their STEM programs to keep up with the national demand for more scientists and engineers. However, many educators at the lower level are trying to get students interested much earlier.

Last month, President Obama held a meeting with public- and private-sector groups in regards to STEM education, which could start as early as pre-school. Groups included NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sesame Workshop, the Girl Scouts and the Fred Rogers Company. The goal of the “early active STEM learning” initiative is to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math as young as possible and to carry that interest throughout middle and high school in hopes of pursuing a career in STEM.

A recent report showed that for the percentage of students who pursue a college major in STEM (16% for math in 2015), only about half work in a related career. At the same time, the projected growth for STEM careers from 2010-2020 remains higher than the average of all occupations. With baby boomers soon retiring, the need for STEM professionals will outweigh the number of people able to fill those positions. Additionally, the United States is lagging behind on an international scale, ranking 29th in math and 22nd in science among industrialized nations.

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The projected growth in STEM jobs is higher than that of all occupations

Currently, the U.S. Department of Education is working towards a cohesive national strategy for STEM, which includes:

  • improving STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade
  • increasing and sustaining public and youth engagement with STEM
  • improving the STEM experience for undergraduate students
  • better serving groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields
  • designing graduate education for tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Science (IES) is also funding research that will examine how early elementary school science teaching can improve outcomes for children from minority and low-income backgrounds.

On a local level, Teza Technologies and CEO Misha Malyshev are active supporters of nonprofits that work with elementary and middle school children outside of the classroom in urban cities to provide academic support and resources. Many Teza employees volunteer their time at After-School All-Stars, After School Matters, buildOn and Adler Planetarium, where they partner with children to teach them about STEM through different educational programs.