The goal of the Eastern Shore STEM Network is to increase the awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) topics by the general public and increase the potential for success for those looking for a future in STEM. Opportunities may be prevalent and fruitful, but a lack of awareness about them can only serve to limit the full potential of these initiatives. By increasing the awareness of these opportunities, we not only serve to inform those who may not know about STEM, but also to act as a support channel for those who are already working within STEM and looking to be involved with such.
In 2006, President George W. Bush, at his State of the Union address, announced the American Competitiveness Initiative, aimed at maintaining and increasing America’s economic and technological competitiveness through increases in long-term investing in education and research and development (R&D). In particular, shortfalls in support for STEM fields, at all academic levels, were to be addressed. That same year, the United States National Academies expressed their concern about the decline of STEM education in the nation, and subsequently a list of actions the federal government can take to alleviate these concerns. Their top three recommendations were:
- Increase America’s talent pool by improving K-12 science and mathematics education
- Strengthen the skills of teachers through additional training in science, math and technology
- Enlarge the pipeline of students prepared to enter college and graduate with STEM degrees
Many federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and NASA, signed on to help undertake these initiatives and, thereafter, implemented various programs “to advance STEM education in order to replenish the pool of scientists, engineers and mathematicians…in the 21st century.”
We are funded through a grant generously provided by the National Science Foundation, entitled Bridges for SUCCESS (Salisbury University’s Connections to Careers for Every STEM Student), aimed at increasing the number of graduates in selected STEM disciplines by 75% within the next five years. A number of events are planned to take place on a yearly basis to help fulfill these goals, and the Eastern Shore community, as a whole, looks to benefit from increasing the number of people in the local job market who have these highly marketable skills to offer to the public.