I Am A Scientist

Despite being home to two of the largest life science clusters in the world, California’s mathematics and sciences programs continue to lag behind other states, ranking 43rdin the category. As the life sciences continue to grow in California, the state will need more diverse and educated workers in order to fill high-paying jobs; STEM education will have to become stronger in order for these roles to be fulfilled.

In I Am A Scientist, Tom Torlakson (Superintendent of Public Instruction), the Department of Education, The California Endowment, California Biotechnology Foundation, and Lybba connect what a solid STEM education can do for expanding students’ future career paths. The film follows student from Promise Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles at a biohackathon, an event that enables students to work with biomedical lab equipment in a hands-on setting. “[At the biohackathon] I was inspired by [the students’] imagination and wonderment…these students are genuinely passionate about pursuing careers in science, medicine, research,” said Jesse Dylan, founder of Wondros and Lybba.
The film hopes to not only show the impact that STEM education has on future career paths, but also hopes to inspire students to consider the life science field as well. “We want to help students find their passion and to get a sense for what’s possible in the future,” said B. Kathlyn Mead, the EVP and COO of the California Endowment. Given STEM education’s track record, this seems likely. Marlena Jackson, founder of NexGeneGirls, an afterschool program that introduces girls to science and technology, has seen her students place themselves on track to becoming scientists, engineers, and lab technicians just after some exposure to science.
I Am A Scientist is now showing and is due to be screened at several high schools throughout the state in order to open students’ eyes about a possible career path in the sciences.

Here at Project Tomorrow our mission is to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. We believe that by supporting the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in our K-12 schools and communities, students will develop the critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills needed to compete and thrive in the 21st century. Each year we hold our Leading the Way: Youth Leadership Summit for Math and Science for local High School students in Orange County, CA. This free half-day event includes a student presentation of OC business trends, panel discussions from industry leaders and a diverse group of engineers, tabletop exhibits to introduce students to local STEM career opportunities and college programs, and breakout sessions led by business and education leaders throughout the region. Opportunities like these are just what students need to get exposure to these types of careers!

To learn more about how you, your company or students can get involved with next year’s 2014 Leading the Way Youth Leadership Summit please visit our website at: http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/youthLeadershipSummit.html

Click here to read the full article, “New Flim Inspites Youth to Find Passion in STEM Education and Discover Science-Based Career Opportunities”.

Also please be sure to contribute to the national dialog about science, technology & preparing students for the 21st century workforce through Speak Up! This year we are asking students, parents and community members to share the types of college and workplace skills that they think students should be learning in school to be successful in the future, what is needed to acquire those skills as well as student’s overall STEM career interest and how they would like to learn about future careers.

To participate in Speak Up go to www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013, surveys are available to students, educators, parents and community members.

Thanks for reading! And please be sure to tell us your thoughts on this interesting article below in our comment section!

Written by Lisa Chu, Project Tomorrow Fall Intern

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