Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, also known as STEM education, affects all aspects of society, but during the last two decades, there has been an overall decline STEM interest among American students. STEM is an important part of an advanced economy, and it is essential that today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders in STEM.
Each state has responded to this STEM crisis in their own way. New York has enacted several initiatives to improve the quality of STEM education in the state and to further engage students in an attempt to inspire the coming generations of STEM professionals.
The New York State STEM Education Collaborative is a joint effort among the American Society for Engineering Education, the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State, the New York State Society of Professional Engineers, the New York State Technology & Engineering Educators Association and the Science Teachers Association of New York State. Together, the Collaborative’s members seek to uphold the standards of New York State’s STEM instruction, and to transform those standards into effective and innovative education. By supporting, developing and connecting STEM educators across the state, the Collaborative hopes to improve the quality of STEM education throughout New York’s schools.
The New York Academy of Sciences is dedicated to the advancement of science through research, application and development. The Academy offers a diverse range of programs, services, awards and conferences to cultivate the talent of young scientists, and encourage continued learning and appreciation of the sciences. Some of their programs include: the Frontiers of Science conference for STEM educators, government officials, business leaders and scientists; the Science Alliance, in which universities, hospitals and businesses collaborate to prepare students and aspiring scientists for careers in STEM industries; and Science in the City, a community outreach initiative that organizes activities to raise awareness of and interest in the sciences among the general public.
The NeXXt Scholars Initiative was announced in December 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as an important step in promoting STEM education and success in the workforce. The Initiative aims to empower and engage young women from predominantly Muslim countries by expanding their opportunities for a world-class STEM education that will prepare them for future careers in STEM industries. NeXXt Scholars are admitted to a five-year membership to the New York Academy of Sciences and are given access to internships, research opportunities, STEM mentoring and a partnership with an American NeXXt Scholar (American STEM Sister).
The Empire State STEM Learning Network arose from the Progressive Dialogue on STEM education in New York State, a conference which lead to the conclusion that STEM education in New York was not always responsive to the individual needs of different regions. The conference established a plan to influence STEM policies, programs and education across the state to address local needs, and improve the academic and professional success of students in each region. The Empire State STEM Learning Network is a group of over 160 agencies and organizations dedicated to enacting this plan by encouraging education reform and career preparation in every major region of New York State.
The New York State Science Olympiad is a nonprofit organization that works with students from grades 5 to 12. The Olympiad's goal is to create a scientifically literate and technologically savvy generation of aspiring professionals to enter the workforce in competitive STEM industries and contribute significantly to society. To engage with students and promote active and enjoyable learning, the organization hosts 22 regional and state Science Olympiad tournaments across New York State. Each event features teams of students participating in scientifically oriented competitions, and the organization also provides professional development for teachers and educators to help integrate such science competitions into the classroom.