STEM Awareness Month builds appeal for science, math-based classes

STEM; it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The purpose of the STEM program is to make these otherwise linear subjects of education more appealing to students to prepare them for a job market where careers in those fields are on the rise.

Brian Sarvello, the Career End Technical Education Director for MARESA, said it’s geared toward lifelong learners.

“We’re trying to spark interest in younger people,” he said, “because we know for a lot of young students, that they tend to shy away from math and science as being more difficult subjects. One of the nice things about Career and Technical Education is we show students that you don’t have to be afraid of STEM, that we use it every day in life, and it’s not as complicated as it might seem. We think doing that really sparks that interest within students.”

With this year’s STEM Awareness Month being paired with a challenge for businesses to take an active role with students in the community, the Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center at NMU has a wide program of events planned throughout October.

Speaking about the challenge, Director of the Seaborg Center, Chris Standerford, said it’s important for businesses to connect with students.

“They’re not always aware of what the job possibilities are going to be in their area,” Standerford said. “You can read everywhere online that we don’t even know what the jobs of the future are going to be. It’s a very hard thing to try and expose everybody to the possibilities, but if we can get the industry people talking with the students directly, they start to see very applicable avenues that they can choose.”

Events at the Seaborg Center range from College for Kids courses that run through the end of the semester to computer programming classes.

Sarvello described STEM as a cradle-to-career initiative that ranges from sparking interest in STEM education early on, to promoting CTE classes that allow for seamless transitions to post-secondary education.

He said, “Our students move seamlessly from high school to college because the high school programs are almost identical to the college programs that students are going to encounter, and the college programs really are what students are going to encounter when they move into that career.”

“It’s fun to be here at the Seaborg Center because we do get to partner with so many of those community organizations and really help facilitate the learning,” Standerford said.

A full list of events being hosted at the Seaborg Center and elsewhere can be found online at the Seaborg Center’s website.