July 7, 2020 -
Remember these- the origami, paper fortune teller so familiar to elementary students and teachers everywhere? Eons ago, I found one in my daughter’s backpack and took this picture. First, because I was impressed that she learned how to make one - because I never did! Second, because I was struck that the choices she listed for future careers were limited to the same, traditional ones kids for decades have indicated: nurse, doctor, police, firefighter.
Why was it that despite the work I do, and the intentionality with which I talk about careers in STEM- engineer, biologist, architect, data analyst, etc.- did she still not list one STEM career beyond the traditional (though obviously important) careers?
I believe it is because those are the professionals she sees in her community, that are talked about in her school and that she interacts with in professional settings.
In short, it is because representation matters.
There is much evidence showing that women and people of color are underrepresented in STEM fields. Research also shows that early learning opportunities in STEM will only attract girls and people of color if they convey a clear sense of belonging.
At Spark 101, we want all students to know they belong in STEM courses and careers. Therefore, we create relatable, authentic content that highlights diverse and underrepresented professionals. With distance learning a reality for the foreseeable future, we have an incredible opportunity to help teachers, parents, students, and jobseekers explore STEM careers from the safety of home, but we need your help!
To continue to create relevant content during this time, we are currently seeking partners to:
We support equity of opportunity and want to provide representation to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals. Further, we believe in the power of bringing the real world to students- wherever they are. If you have ideas for partners who may want to support this initiative and/or be featured, we encourage you to share them with us.