Driving student interest in STEM subjects helps foster innovation for the future

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 8, 2012

(ARA) – In a world that is defined by rapid change – particularly in technology – there are concerns that students today won’t be prepared for the challenges of the future. Of all U.S. high school students who graduated in 2011, only 45 percent were ready for college-level math and 30 percent for science, according to ACT, a college-entrance testing agency. As jobs increasingly require proficiency or expertise in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math), it’s more important than ever that children are inspired to explore these subjects and understand their real impact on our everyday lives.

STEM drives an incredible number of the innovations we see today, from the fastest jet planes to the cars in our driveways to the televisions in our living rooms. Even the video and computer games that children and teenagers turn to for entertainment are based on STEM.

However, interest among students in these important subjects is lagging. And with the extraordinary number of careers and opportunities for growth in STEM fields, many organizations in both the private and public sectors are taking action to bolster student interest and enthusiasm in this area. Samsung, for example, is working to make STEM fun and exciting with their STEM education program called Solve for Tomorrow. It’s a national contest that encourages teachers and students to creatively use STEM to explore and improve their local environment and community.

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“Our goal is to raise awareness and interest in STEM subjects, while providing teachers and students with the resources they need to innovate and grow,” says David Steel, executive vice president of corporate strategy for Samsung Electronics North America.

“We as a nation need to make STEM education a top priority,” says Betsy Landers, President of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), who joined as a program partner this year. “According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 15 of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for 2014 require significant mathematics or science preparation. It is clear that making STEM education a priority is important, for our nation’s short and long-term future. We commend Samsung for their efforts in making a difference in the education and lives of children.”

Through October 31, 2012, teachers can submit a short application for a chance to participate in this year’s Solve for Tomorrow contest. Seventy-five classrooms – 25 from each of the following three categories: rural, suburban, urban – will be selected as semi-finalists and receive technology to help them create videos that answer the challenge: “Show how STEM can help improve the environment in your community.”  From those entries, 15 schools will be selected to receive $40,000 in technology grants and five grand prize winners will be awarded more than $100,000 in technology grants. To learn more about the contest or submit an application, please visit samsung.com/solvefortomorrow.

As the world continues to change in unexpected ways, the demand for technological developments will only increase. By equipping students of today with knowledge and interest in STEM subjects, we’re fostering the innovators of tomorrow.