By Joan Runnheim Olson
In a recent blog post, Marquita M. Qualls shared with readers the importance of STEM and her opinion on why there are so few women in science, technology, engineering, and math. In this blog post she continues the conversation, expressing her thoughts on the role she sees of educators and counselors on a student's career decision-making and more.
What role do you believe educators and counselors play in a student's career decision-making?
Educators and counselors play a huge role in a student's career decision. I believe that they are responsible for exposing the students to a wide range of career options, and providing opportunity for the students to get first hand interaction with people in their field of interest. They should seek out resources to share with students and their parents so that they have the information to make the best informed decision about preparing for their future career. Even if funding is limited, there are several avenues that can be explored. Most, if not all, professional organizations have outreach activities that are geared towards these very efforts. In additions, members are always willing to volunteer time to share their experiences and answer questions about their chosen career path. All that's required is that the counselor or educator reach out and ASK.
How can educators encourage female students to raise awareness and consider a career in STEM?
Exposure is critical. Female students need to become exposed to and can interact with female STEM practitioners. A live example is probably the most powerful ways to encourage young women. I have several female friends and colleagues who often speak to young girls about STEM. It's always exciting to hear a young girls share that she now knows that she too can be a scientist because of the interaction with these female STEM practitioners.
What other resources are available to educators to help promote STEM?
Professional organizations are a great resource for learning about a chosen career field. Within the STEM discipline, there are several organizations that provide tons of information on their websites. A few include:
In addition several government agencies have resources available to educate the public and support the advancement of STEM careers: