The stats on girls and minorities in STEM and STEAM fields are alarming. Only 1 in every 10 workers in STEM fields is a minority woman. How large the gap depends on the field, some have increased or stayed steady but despite the recent push to narrow this gap some fields still remain heavily filled with white males. The area with the largest job growth -computer occupations, which includes computer scientists, systems analysts, software developers, information systems managers, and programmers- has steadily decreased when it comes to women in the field! Black and Hispanic workers are even more underrepresented in many of these fields.
How Can We Create Change?
Steam on is an organization that was founded by high school students because of the inequality that exists in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math fields. Low-income, LGBTQ+, female, and first-generation students do not always have the same opportunities and resources to explore STEAM relative to their peers. They believe this is a huge reason that many of these students do not pursue degrees that lead to careers in these areas. They want to see girls and minorities in STEM and STEAM!!! Their mission is to level the playing field for young people that do not have access to the resources and opportunities they need to succeed in these areas.
Steam on is a student-run nonprofit, this gives them a unique perspective on the issues they are tackling. Particularly, as a group of young people coming from some of these more disadvantaged backgrounds, they can better connect with the people they are addressing and make positive changes. They understand the problems facing their communities, this allows them to drive change from the ground up. They like to think globally and act locally by keeping the big picture in mind while helping young people in their own communities. They hope this change will have a ripple effect!!
Steam on was founded by Zoe Simon, a senior at Wood River High School in Hailey, Idaho. Zoe founded steam on because she is passionate about seeing students of all backgrounds, particularly low-income and first-generation students and young women represented equally in STEAM. She wants to give them more access to high-quality learning resources and mentors. Zoe is excited to expand steam on and help provide those underrepresented or disadvantaged students with opportunities to explore their passion.
How Does Steam On Do This?
Tutoring is provided by a team of student tutors across the country who volunteer to work with students aged 8 to 18. They help them access and embrace STEAM by providing tutoring either online or locally in-person. Students receive tutoring through face to face interaction whenever there is a tutor in their area. Online tutoring allows them to expand the program and mission without having a local presence. Steam on’s tutoring program really helps provide young people with the mentorship and resources that they need to succeed in these fields. They believe that the peer-to-peer education component of their mission is critical to making STEAM both more accessible and engaging for young people because they are learning and talking with people like them. You can find a tutor here!
Steam on’s local chapters help them develop an on-the-ground and personal presence for their organization. They serve as meeting places for students passionate about STEAM to connect and talk about their interests as well as safe spaces for young people to learn about STEAM through free resources and peer-to-peer education. They host events in their areas for students to explore their interest such as coding camps, hack-a-thons, STEAM career fairs, group discussions or debates, and more. If you are interested in starting your own chapter of steam on, at your college, middle or high school, click here to find out how.
Want to be updated on what steam on is working on? Subscribe to their monthly newsletter “steam stream,” which is filled with lots of cool stuff they have going on, like upcoming events, recent scientific discoveries, program offerings, STEAM scholarships, other opportunities, and more!
Want to Know More? Get Involved with Steam On!
If you have any questions about steam on or want to get involved with their work, you can contact them by email or through Instagram or Twitter. They would love to grow their network of young people and involve more students in their mission and organization. Also, they are always trying to find other groups that share in their mission of providing equitable STEAM education so if you are interested reach out to them to get involved with the organization.
How are you helping to promote STEM and STEAM in your community? Leave your comments below!!
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