Federal Agencies Team Up to Nab Next Generation of Female STEM Rock Stars

  • twitter
  • Facebook
  • google+

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Energy are hosting a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Mentoring Café on Monday, May 19, from 4:30−6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Education Building in Washington, D.C. Government professional females in STEM fields will rotate through roundtable show-and-tell (“speed dating style”) discussions to talk to middle school girls and their teachers from Washington, D.C., area schools about the choices that led to rewarding STEM careers. The Education Department’s Assistant Deputy Secretary Nadya Dabby will give welcoming remarks, and Camsie McAdams, acting director of the STEM Office, will moderate the event.

As a component of the Mentoring Café, participating female STEM professionals—ranging from patent examiners and engineers to computer programmers and mathematicians—have committed to working with these D.C. area teachers and their students for approximately 20 hours over the coming year.

Research shows that only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in STEM careers.Women and minorities make up 70 percent of total college graduates, but are only 45 percent STEM degree holders. Only one in seven engineers is female and only 20 percent of computer science degrees go to women. The President’s Educate to Innovate initiative calls on government officials, companies, foundations, non-profits, and science and engineering societies to come together to encourage young people to pursue and excel in high-paid, highly-rewarding STEM fields.

In addition to the numerous STEM programs and educational components at the U.S. Department of Education, the President’s proposed 2015 budget includes several investments designed to improve teaching and learning in STEM subjects for teachers and students:

  • STEM Innovation Proposal: Includes $170 million in new funding that will help to train the next generation of innovators.
  • STEM Innovation Networks ($110 million): Includes grants to school districts, in partnership with colleges and other regional partners, to transform STEM teaching and learning by adopting practices in P-12 education that help increase the number students who seek out and are well-prepared for postsecondary education and careers in STEM fields.
  • STEM Teacher Pathways ($40 million): Provides competitive awards to high-quality programs that recruit and train talented STEM educators for high-need schools.
  • National STEM Master Teacher Corps ($20 million): Identifies, refines and shares models to help America’s best and brightest math and science teachers make the transition from excellent teachers to school and community leaders, and advocates for STEM education.