STEM Gains Momentum in Massachusetts
The National Science Foundation has awarded $3.5 million in grants to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to help strengthen the STEM curriculum in New Bedford, Fall River and Wareham schools. The grants will be allocated for intensive training of teachers in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math and also go towards researching more effective ways for teachers to teach math.
The award exemplifies Massachusetts’ commitment to the STEM initiative, a national movement which aims to innovate curriculums and groom students for a technologically advanced workplace, and comes just as the Commonwealth prepares for its 8th annual STEM Summit. Team-hosted by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and the University of Massachusetts/UMass Donahue Institute, the summit will emphasize business/industry issues and involvement; workforce development (including K-12 vocational education); higher education; and, connections to national public and private programs.
Atop this year’s agenda is the ambitious goal of increasing student interest in STEM majors by 10 percent over the next five years. This objective extends to bringing more girls into STEM fields, closing race and ethnicity gaps, increasing interest in fields where future opportunity is anticipated and introducing facets of STEM into curriculums as early as preschool.
Additionally, the state’s aggressive STEM mission covers curriculum development at the PreK level through high school, fosters readiness for college-level courses in STEM fields and aims to increase the number of students who complete post-secondary degrees in STEM-related majors at Massachusetts’ public and private colleges. The state’s ongoing efforts to strengthen STEM development from early childhood through post-secondary education address the need for a well-trained and well-qualified workforce to fill jobs in emerging fields and represents an investment in both the state’s and the country’s future.
October 10, 2011