It comes to little surprise that over 75% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers are held by men as they are more traditionally known to pursue these career types. While women hold approximately 50% of all jobs in the US - only 25% of all STEM jobs are held by women. This underrepresentation within the STEM career fields is contributed to the lack of females role models as well as gender stereotyping.
Teachers and parents have an impact on encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM. Taking the exploration of STEM fields from the classroom to the home to the playground after all, creativity and technology go together. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow an educational competition working to inspire the next generation of innovative programs. Their mission to raise student interest in STEM subjects nationwide along with their partners aims to help discover a world of possibilities.
“I think my biggest epiphany from Solve for Tomorrow was that science and creativity go hand in hand,” said Petroff. “For our project, creativity was a must in order to understand and to convey how STEM-related issues affect both our community and the Pacific Northwest in general. And then, being successful when we made a project we were really proud of gave me the confidence to realize that, well, if I pursue something in the STEM field, I can still use creativity, and I could be good at it.”
Meera Petroff, now a freshman at Oregon State University began her exploration into the world of STEM around the second grade and received constant encouragement in her exploration. In 2011, Petroff and her peers won the grand prize in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition. The competition’s goal is to inspire girls and boys with an interest in pursuing STEM studies. Petroff was originally not much interested in pursuing STEM studies however, the Solve for Tomorrow experience fed her inspiration for creativity in technology.
“Meera’s story is a perfect example of how Samsung Solve for Tomorrow helps inspire both girls and boys to take an active interest in pursuing STEM studies,” said David Steel, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics North America. “We aim to foster future innovators by showing students how fun and powerful STEM can be.”
Actively working to change the dynamic of STEM-related careers encouraging more women to pursue careers in the field is important to the future of the U.S. economy - a future dependant on its production of strong STEM graduates.