The end of summer means that students of all ages are getting their room and course assignments, maybe choosing an outfit for the first day of school and anticipating all a new year brings. It also offers another important opportunity to remember how critical mentoring students and helping them to pursue their STEM education-related goals are to helping ensure a strong and innovative future workforce.

Adriane Brown speaks with students in Washington, D.C., about pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
 

The Indiana University School of Education recently conducted a survey designed to identify how, when, and why students choose STEM fields, and to learn what keeps them interested. The researchers spoke to nearly 8,000 participants from both STEM and non-STEM disciplines. And they concluded that the majority of respondents first expressed their interest in STEM fields before sixth grade.

These findings demonstrate the important role that mentorship can play in helping students maintain their expressed interests through high school and into college. Intellectual Ventures has always emphasized the importance of mentorship, and we support programs and meet with students in the community to help build the next generation of STEM leaders. As our President and COO, Adriane Brown, often says:

As you climb the ladder, reach down and pull someone up with you.

For our part, we’re involved in programs like CodeDay and Seattle’s Pacific Science Center Discovery Corps program, which seeks to inspire lifelong interest in science, math and technology among its members.

A little while ago, Project Eureka! talked to two Discovery Corps members about what helped them most as they considered pursuing STEM-related goals. Their tips for fellow STEM enthusiasts heading back to school included:

  1. Searching and exploring are the best ways to find your passions and interests.
  2. Delve into your own interest and learn to love it. See if there are ways that you can mix what you like to do with something in the STEM field.
  3. Learn how and where to turn your interest into a career. Seek out companies that emphasize your interest; look for programs or internships in the same field. There is something out there for every STEM area.
  4. Find something you think is really wrong with the world and fix it.
  5. Don’t ever let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

We encourage all students to pursue their dreams, to think creatively about what they enjoy doing and to foster their innovative spirit. And for all of the mentors out there, keep on doing your great work – for many students, your influence can make all of the difference in the world.

Want inspiration from real inventors and scientists who are achieving their dreams? Check out our Behind the Breakthrough series to learn more about their stories.

 


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