The Importance of STEM Education During Your Childhood
Second Semester Senior. It feels incredibly abnormal as I typed the previous phrase, because it’s surreal that in less than six weeks, I’ll no longer be a student. As much as I’m ready to stop taking exams, I’m anxious to leave a place that shaped my professional and personal identities. While I always thought that my second semester I’d be cruising through school and focusing on social interactions, I made the decision to become involved with a nonprofit startup on campus called MakerGirl, and it’s definitely impacted my life for the better.
When I first heard that MakerGirl promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education across girls aged 7-10 by teaching them how to 3D print, the nerd inside of me was thrilled. I loved playing with Legos and 3D puzzles as a child, and vividly remember upset for a solid 10 minutes when my aunt and uncle gifted me a purse instead of my usual gift, a fresh box of Legos.
As I grew older and mingled with various classmates whose backgrounds were different than mine, I realized how these simple gifts were more of a privilege than a normalcy. I’ve met amazingly bright and intelligent female friends who’ve jokingly stated that their moms curbed their exposure to STEM fields and opportunities because their mom thought “it was too difficult for me” or “it would stress me out too much”. While they chuckled a little after that and moved on to a new conversation after, I couldn’t help but internally dwell on it and think to myself, “What’s so difficult about STEM, and what on Earth could you possibly be lacking you’re deemed incapable of studying STEM”? MakerGirl has further widened my perspective, and taught me that there circumstances that discourage female involvement in STEM even more; from a lack of resources and opportunities to girls shying away at young ages despite being interested because of the abundance of males in the classroom or workshop and them feeling uncomfortable. Shockingly, the gender disparity has been growing since the 80s, when it was at its lowest. As a society, we’ve moved forward through technology, and innovation, but we forgot to make females a part of that journey.
I am an ambitious, successful, driven and passionate individual today because I was told from a young age that I am unstoppable force, and that with the right mindset and work ethic I can achieve anything. That stemmed from being exposed to toys and gadgets that encouraged my academic development and problem solving skills. My childhood made me cognizant that even the smallest actions can result in the largest impact. Through MakerGirl, I’m applying this realization and building the STEM foundations of girls today who will help build the future of the USA tomorrow.