At the Center for Entrepreneurship we definitely have a fascination with STEM. One of our Residents at the CSUF Startup Incubator, KIDnetic Energy Labs, has it as their mission to help teach students about STEM; Amerika Bernal, one of our recent graduates, is pursuing a career in STEM; and we have been heavily involved in mentoring middle school students STEM and Entrepreneurship the last couple of years since winning a $1 Million grant from the National Science Foundation.
Recently, this program wrapped up another successful year of teaching underprivileged middle school students about STEM and Entrepreneurship. Summarized in CSUF Students Mentor Junior High School Students in STEM Subjects, we can say that it has been a thrill getting the opportunity to help mentor these students. Seeing the light bulbs flickering on as they have epiphanies about how science or math can be extremely useful to them when they grow up is a treat.
What we have found is that one of the most important things undermining STEM education with many younger students is the belief that STEM subjects just really aren’t necessary to them once they become an adult. In other words, STEM is seen as being unnecessary by students, especially younger ones like the ones we worked with, because they haven’t been able to see how they can get a job that is related to a STEM subject.
Fortunately, that’s where entrepreneurship and all of it’s component parts comes into play in these students’ STEM education. Entrepreneurship shows them that they can take the cool experiments that they are working on and make a business out of them. In a very real sense, entrepreneurship has proven to many of these students that learning STEM is not only beneficial to their future career but could become a centerpiece of their professional lives.
But there is always more work to do and we are looking forward to starting this program up again in the fall. If you would like to learn more about this program and some of the other initiatives we are doing in relation to STEM please reach out to us at csufentrepreneurship [at] fullerton [dot] edu
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