Matthew, a high school senior from Oklahoma, has dreamed of becoming an engineer since he built his first “robot” in a 4H club years ago. Despite his passion and exuberance, his efforts to share exciting, fun, and accessible activities—and eventual career opportunities— in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) don’t always resonate with other students.
Matthew was one of 40 young leaders from 4H clubs around the country addressing a crowd on Wednesday at the White House. He offered the analogy of a cool beverage on a hot southern day—to him, STEM activities can be as appealing as sugar in sweet tea, but someone must stir the ingredients to spread the flavor.
During their visit with Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and other Administration policymakers, these bright and energetic young leaders volunteered to stir up interest in STEM throughout their communities.
The 4H students pledged to engage their peers in creative science and engineering activities like the Maker Movement through video contests, newsletter campaigns, and mentoring programs. Together, they plan to build a national STEM peer movement.
You can join them. Start a Maker Faire in your community. Encourage your friends to join in, and connect with new friends in the movement. Share why you think science, engineering, and math is exciting. Ask your teacher to invite a doctor or an engineer, an architect, a programmer or a veterinarian to talk to your class. Write an article in your school newspaper about how you got interested in becoming our Nation’s next great inventor, innovator, researcher, or explorer. Check out new ways to get involved through afterschool STEM clubs and online tools like the Connect a Million Minds Connectory.
Stir things up and spread the word.
Steve Robinson is a Special Assistant at the White House Domestic Policy Council
Lauren Andersen is a Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy