This year, our scholars started learning about the STEM field. We first learned what it stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We then learned about several really cool STEM jobs that fascinated the students such as tennis shoe engineer, sports statistics analyst, and veterinarian. We then explored the question: “Who currently holds STEM jobs in the United States?” My school is close to 100% Black, and my students were surprised to learn that only about 5% of STEM jobs are held by African Americans in the US. The initial reactions from students were reactions of anger and frustration. After discussion however, the emotions changed to “hopeful”, “empowered”, and “determined.” The students came to the conclusion that they can be the ones to change that statistic! They are the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technologists.
The Pen Pal program is crucial to changing the statistic because my students have ongoing communication with individuals in the STEM Field. This truly connects them to the field and allows them to learn about the specific major or career that the pen pal holds. We are so grateful for our pen pals!
Below are pictures from our third letter opening day: