SmartBrief recently published an interactive, in-depth digital magazine about building inclusive pathways to STEM careers. The report featured the following article. Access SmartReport on STEM for tips from students, educators and other experts. Stay tuned to SmartBlogs for more articles from the report in the coming weeks.
One moment can change everything.
“A large percentage of girls who chose a STEM career did so because of just one thing, one person or one event,” Nepris CEO Sabari Raja said during a SmartBrief Equity in STEM event. “It does not take years and years of convincing.”
Raja recalled a trip to Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state, where she learned about the first female entrepreneur in biotechnology in India.
“I didn’t meet her; I didn’t talk to her. But somebody pointed out the company and said, “This is an amazing woman. You should look up and learn about her.” That was a huge defining moment for me. I was, like, wow, she’s a woman, and she’s here, and she looks like me, and she’s done something great, and people respect her, and she’s up there,” Raja explained.
Aerospace educator Barbara Gruber shared during her event presentation how makerspaces also can help create moments of inspiration.
“One of the things that we have done with makerspaces in Loudoun is put makerspaces in the library, which is a special place that kids go to every week,” Gruber said. “While they’re learning digital literacy and while they’re learning research skills, they also can learn maker skills.”
“Having that regular access, even if they’re not directly working in the makerspace, having that visibility of projects that other kids are working on, having the 3D printer there, having any type of technology out, certainly grabs kids’ attention in the library.”
“In the school I was at last year, we had all this dead space, and we decided to create our makerspace there,” Gruber said. “It is the first thing that you see when you walk in. Parents, community members, when they walk in, they see kids engaged in making.”
Melissa Greenwood is the director of content for the education team at SmartBrief, covering K12, higher education and path to workforce.
If you enjoyed this article, join SmartBrief’s email list for more stories about education. We offer newsletters covering educational leadership, special education and more.