What is STEM? Why is it important?

STEM education is more than just science, technology, engineering or mathematics; it is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with real-world, problem-based learning. This bridging among the four discrete disciplines is now known as STEM. STEM education removes the traditional barriers erected between the four disciplines by integrating them into one cohesive teaching and learning paradigm. Today, new innovations and inventions tend to be made at the boundaries of these four disciplines, where they naturally overlap. Good STEM programming fosters the development of critical STEM skills including systems thinking, problem solving, iterative design, information and communication technology fluency and digital media literacy.

A STEM-literate student is not only an innovator and critical thinker, but is able to make meaningful connections between school, community, work and global issues. A STEM-literate high school graduate can enroll in a college-level course of study in science, technology, engineering, and math without the need for remediation. STEM education is critical to helping students develop and apply college-ready and 21st century skills relevant to their everyday lives. STEM skills are increasingly necessary to engage in a knowledge-based economy. There is solid evidence to suggest that the fastest-growing and highest-wage jobs in future years will be in STEM fields and all employees will need to utilize STEM skills for problem solving in a wide range of industries.

DWCA is committed to ensuring that EVERY student has the opportunity to explore and build an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The strength of our nation depends on increasing all students’ involvement in STEM, especially those most under-represented in STEM, and in helping them to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills that are so important throughout life. While the percentage of careers that require advanced STEM education increases, an alarmingly high percentage of students lose interest in STEM subjects early in their development. If the U.S. is to maintain its competitive advantage in the global economy, we need to ensure that our entire population of young people are educated in STEM fields for the 21st century.