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Education World STEM News Round Up

This week, we see leaps and bounds in the initiatives toward promoting and expanding STEM education. There is a special emphasis on mentorships across the nation, and how a hand up from successful people in STEM fields can inspire students to follow in their foot steps. Yet a recent report from The Wall Street Journal examines the current effect of STEM education initiatives, and suggests more innovative programs are needed to spark an interest in younger students.

Sailors Mentor High School Students in Cyberthon Competition

The Center for Information Dominance (CID) Sailors recently mentored high school students in Pensacola, Fla. during the inaugural Cyberthon Competition. The competition took place January 23–25, and was designed to “energize the next generation of information warriors.” Angelo Mayorga, a freshman at a local high school, greatly benefited from the experience. “Before coming to Cyberthon, I thought it took only one person to combat a hacker intrusion,” Mayorga told Naval reporter Ed Barker. “I’m starting to think seriously about going to college to study computer technology and hopefully get a job in the field.”


Florida Governor Proposes $1 Million in STEM Funding

As a part of the “Keep Florida Working” initiative, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, announced he is asking lawmakers for $1 million in STEM funding for K–12 education. “[The] 269,000 job openings we have in the state right now are in the STEM arena,” Scott was reported to say. “As we get more people education in the STEM arena, we’re going to get more and more and more jobs. And they’re good paying jobs.” The budget proposal will be decided upon in Spring 2015.


Million Women Mentors Movement Secures 173,000+ STEM Mentors

A movement lead by STEMconnector—a consortium of companies, nonprofits, and universities—secured over 173,000 (and growing) pledges to be STEM mentors for young girls interested in STEM careers. “The Million Women Mentors movement comes at a time when a growing amount of research has found that women are more likely to leave STEM fields than men—with reasons ranging from hostile work cultures to isolation,” reported Jamaal Abdul-Alim for Jane Oates, the vice president of external affairs at the University of Phoenix, said: “We have got to make sure that our young women have information about career choices and once they get into those academic fields, they have the power to stay there.” The Million Women Mentors movement hopes to secure one million mentors by 2018, and to get more companies offering mentoring, paid internships and apprenticeships.


The Wall Street Journal Finds Stagnate Number of Students Pursuing College STEM Fields

Despite the increased national push to boost the competitiveness of the U.S. economy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a recent report released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center suggests the number of students with STEM-related degrees isn’t growing. “In 2014, 34% of all bachelor’s degrees were in so-called STEM fields, which cover subjects like biology, chemistry and mathematics, compared with 33% in 2004,” Wall Street Journal reporter Melissa Korn wrote. The report also found that women tend to disappear from STEM at more advanced levels, and earned about half the STEM degrees at the bachelor’s level last year. “There’s been a lot of attention in computer science departments about how we can attract more women,” said Doug Shapiro, the executive research director of the center. “The fact that that number has not budged [in recent years] is disappointing.”

Compiled by Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor


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