Have you ever been told to close your eyes and visualise your future self? Working at your dream job, living your dream life and having a “happy ever after” moment? Visualizing a goal is a powerful way to achieve it.
The problem in STEM industries though, is that many young people, especially young females, don’t visualise themselves in any of the roles pertaining to Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM). As a result, the STEM industry has seen a lack of numbers of skilled workers entering these fields.
Studies have shown that a science identity is as important as an interest in science. Students who can see themselves working in STEM fields are more likely to be the ones who take part in STEM subjects throughout their educational years.
Researchers found that science identity was linked to “a match between school science and real science, consistent extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and a sense of community and affiliation.” They found that middle school and high school females fared poorly on the measurement for science identity.
What can we do?
The research is clear then. In order for young learners to have a strong science identity and become and stay interested in STEM subjects, they need to be inspired by strong science identities!
Having people around them to influence them and lead them on the path to STEM is a very important factor in making sure that Australia’s STEM roles stay filled. Positive effects were found when students had good mentor-mentee relationships.
In commonly male-dominated fields like STEM, female students also need to be better encouraged to stay and persevere. They need to feel safe and be shown that women have equal rights and abilities in these fields as well as many others.
Mentors also need to be sensitive to emotional issues in both boys and girls, not just educational ones. As mentors, we also need to be well educated in STEM subjects and continually keep up to date with trends in order to be an example for our younger generation.
STEMmates has always strived for gender equality in STEM. Our specially designed courses and workshops are targeted at both girls and boys from as young as 7 years old.
We hope to support them in their STEM journeys by igniting that science identity spark at an early age. We also encourage any student, regardless of what they might want to do in University or higher education, to take up STEM.
The soft skills that are refined and developed as a result will help them be equipped for the jobs and economy of the future, no matter what field that may be in.
Give your child some support too by signing them up for our courses today. More information can be found on our Facebook and website pages.