STEM programs crucial to the future


Jennifer Byrd

Volunteer Writer 

Logan Brown shows off this physics project concerning electro-magnetic energy. Photo by Dennis Gosnell

Cell phones, computers, automobiles, and the energy that powers them are just a few of the products that are produced that require Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) knowledge.

STEM fields are crucial in our rapidly advancing technological world. Without the students, educators and employees that work in these areas, we would not have any of the luxuries we have today.

The problem currently being addressed by educators and politicians is the rapid decline in the U.S., standing as a STEM leader. According to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. is currently 52nd in the world for quality of Science and Math Education, and a declining seventh in overall global competitiveness  In stark contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects STEM jobs to grow 17 percent between 2011 and 2021, with seven of the ten fastest growing occupations being STEM related.

To combat this issue, RSC Science and Engineering Dean, Dr. Wayne Jones, along with advisor Nick Bastani, have become active in creating STEM awareness in Oklahoma. According to Jones, to resume our role as technological leaders society as a whole needs a background in STEM.

Some of the ways RSC is involved with such an initiative include the 19 degrees in STEM related fields, on campus workshops, and reaching out to the younger generation that will one day become STEM leaders.

Some past projects include Teacher Workshops, the First Annual Central Oklahoma Science and Engineering Festival, and the annual summer event, Kids College. This summer over 1,600 students attended 135 classes, with many of those classes being STEM related.

It is crucial to get the future leaders of America interested in STEM at a young age. Many children love their video games, but not as many understand the technology that makes them function. To help spark their interest, RSC holds a Science Fair every year during the Spring semester for grades K-12. Jones and Bastani, also serve on the Boards at Northeast Academy for Health Sciences and Engineering, working closely with a group of young people that are about to enter college in STEM programs.

The coming decade appears to be a make or break it time for the U.S. in reference to our global impact in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It is up to every single American to become active and encourage the youth around them to participate in these subjects.

Mr. Bastani realizes the importance of each individual in making a difference.

“As a nation we can no longer afford to be just an end user,” Bastani said.

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