THE BLOG

Every Mom and Dad a STEM Mentor

02/02/2015 02:27 pm ET | Updated Apr 01, 2015

"What can we do to expose our daughter to coding and get her 'tinkering' or building things?"

"I am not a STEM professional, what do I do to get my child aware of these new careers?"

I had an amazing two hours visit with the parents and teachers from a high school Holy Child just outside Washington, DC. Parents were there to find out how to engage their daughters in STEM skills as part of an intense 'Full STEAM Ahead' (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Campaign.

The administration was focused on what they could do with engaged parents to give their students every edge at both the middle school and high school level. I was impressed, very impressed with these parents stepping up with the school to be mentors, find mentors and champion their kids for in school and out of school opportunities.

Working at STEMconnector, my perspective is often from the demand side of STEM. What do America's top corporations like IBM, Intel, BP, and MasterCard need out of a sophisticated workforce and what training do we need from K- J (kindergarten through jobs) to fill these lucrative careers. What are the best partnerships with Universities and smart STEM investments? What does all the data teach us? How do we ensure diversity in our STEM workforce, especially in tech and dig deep into the plight to recruit and retain women in these fields.

Being a mother of a 12 year old, it was so refreshing and invigorating to take pause with other passionate parents about how we can better mentor our kids and what our educational systems can do. I know that I want my daughter to have every opportunity and not lose out on better paying jobs as a result of perception that these jobs are for men or low confidence.

Parents started thinking about how they could align their network with the school to provide more internship opportunities, even if it was on Saturdays for four-weeks. The seniors will take an entire month off. Interning over Spring break and not competing with college students for placement was part of the thinking. Start early.

One neat idea from a dynamic school leader, was to have the high school students go out and experience work through job shadowing and internships, and then have them do presentations to the middle school students on their STEM experience as part of their final grade.

Several teachers looked at alignments between English classes and Science. I.e Creating posters at the school to share the stories of Ada Lovelace, Sally Ride, Madame CJ Walker and more. Then bringing in a panel of three parents who are scientists to share 'the real deal' and answer tough questions about work.

With over 71% of the jobs now requiring STEM skills (and the 'A' - arts is truly the genius behind great technology like the iPhone and beautifully oversized Samsung Galaxy...) it is a great time as parents and teachers to think about our roles in STEM and the importance of experiential learning and role models.

Here are some great resources for your new toolkit to learn the issues and support your kids...

Who is doing what is STEM education and careers? Searchable database by state and so much more at www.stemconnector.org

Women in STEM: Realizing the Potential White Papers (on front page of millionwomenmentors.org:

MWM 58 STEM serving Partners from First Robotics, Girls Inc., Techbridge, National 4-H, NCWIT, SkillsUSA, GirlStart, Black Girls Code, National Girls Collaborative, Mentornet and so many more with website links Click on any logo for an overview and also see infographic map

For girls... We also love Discovery Science Camps, Khan Academy (free online coding and Code Academy) Code.org, Project Lead the Way programs, Girls Who Code, Anita Borg, Raspberry Pi's and more! For confidence building, I am a big fan of Girls Leadership Institute and their Summer camps.

Where are the STEM Students, Where are the STEM Jobs https://www.stemconnector.org/sites/default/files/store/STEM-Students-STEM-Jobs-Executive-Summary.pdf

Publication 100 Women Leaders in STEM (Great Role Models!): https://www.stemconnector.org/sites/default/files/100-Women-Leaders-in-STEM-WEB.pdf

Top shelf facts: http://www.millionwomenmentors.org/#facts (also sign up and we do a Women/ Girls in STEM bi-weekly e-newsletter. Companies & individuals can also commit here with a pledge to mentor.

Million Women Mentors 20 Hour Mentor Action Guide (Age 15 - 24)
http://www.slideshare.net/Juliek/million-women-mentors-20-hrs-stem-mentoring-ideas

Million Women Mentors Presentation- Thinking Big About Girls & Young Women in STEM http://www.slideshare.net/Juliek/mwm-keynote-presentation-april-24-2014

Internships & Parent, Teacher Resources
http://stemcareer.com/parents/ ... Site has a great link to internship opportunities, shares competitions and more... Also love partner Teen Life's Guide for Parents on STEM Programs http://teenlife.uberflip.com/i/284832

http://people.rit.edu/gtfsbi/Symp/highschool.htm is the internship page
Articles and Learning:

Why So Few Women in STEM (American Association of University Women)
http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/Why-So-Few-Women-in-Science-Technology-Engineering-and-Mathematics.pdf

Huffington Post Girls in STEM http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/girls-in-stem/ awesome content and leads!

Thesis by Linda Wiest, PhD on Parents Supporting Daughters in STEM http://www.unr.edu/Documents/education/math-camp/Parent_Strategies_PDF.pdf

Great Huffington Post on Supporting Our Daughters K -12 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hobsons-roadtrip-nation/girls-in-stem_b_4023635.html

The Atlantic- On Mentoring Girls http://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/chevron-stem-education/hands-on-learning-and-mentorship-are-putting-more-women-in-the-stem-pipeline/179/

Great Links and MWM Partner Organizations
1] www.NCWIT.org - Amazing research and tools from the National Center for Women and Informational Technology

2] MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership has some great resources for us all to learn from. The value of mentoring, be a mentor and their Mentoring Partnership in Pittsburgh developed a great guide

3] www.npower.org- Sign up here and find STEM related volunteer and mentoring opportunities on The Community Core.

4] www.Mentornet.net - Outstanding online mentoring platform for undergraduate mentoring

6] The FabFems directory is a national database of women from a broad range of professions in science, technology, computer science, engineering, and mathematics who are inspiring role models for young women. The directory is free and accessible to young women, parents, girl-serving STEM programs, and other orgs working to increase career awareness and interest in STEM. www.fabfems.org. The FabFems Project is an innovative online collaboration tool brought to you by the National Girls Collaborative Project. Also check out www.leanin.org for role models

7] Girls Who Code or www.Code.org - We hear you can also work with a mentee and learn to code for free through the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org). See video of awesome female role models (many in STEM careers)at www.leanin.org

8] Techbridge (www.techbridge.org) has a wealth of research and resources

9] Anita Borg Institute has an amazing Grace Hopper Conference for Girls in STEM.

10] Society of Women Engineers www.swe.org

11] List of 200 More Organizations and Associations with Women in STEM Focus on STEMconnector Directory

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