U.S. STEM jobs expected to grow nearly twice as fast as other fields by 2018. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of both interested and adequately prepared K-12 students in STEM subjects, especially among young women and minority youth.
In 2014, BGCA and TWC partnered to address America’s declining STEM proficiency with the launch of the DIY STEM program for Clubs around the country. Research shows that out-of-school programs, like those offered at Boys & Girls Clubs, are an effective way to stimulate interest in STEM-related careers.
DIY STEM engages youth ages 10 to 18 in the “science of every day.” Initially, it included three thematic units: energy and electricity, engineering design, and food chemistry. This year, the program -now called DIY STEM 2.0- expanded to include two new units: introductory aeronautics and introductory robotics. The program culminates with DIY Family Night, providing family members, Club staff and community stakeholders the opportunity to view Club members’ DIY STEM projects.
By participating in the White House Science Fair, Eddie and Jayda saw first-hand how hard work in STEM can pay off. Eddie now has plans to attend college and further his science education, while Jayda plans to become a pediatrician.
Kimberly Boyd is BGCA's Nat'l. V.P. of Program, Training & Youth Development Services.