A leader in technical training equipment and curriculum in Southeast Michigan is praising efforts by state and regional afterschool advocates to create more opportunities for girls to engage in high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities in the out-of-school time.
Through a grant from the STEM Next Opportunity Fund and part of the Million Girls Moonshot initiative, the MI STEM Partnership will be working with the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP) to diminish gender and ethnic differences in youth exploring the sciences over the next five years, a move that is certain to lead more girls to pursue degrees in STEM one day.
Paul Agosta, president of ATS-LAB Midwest, said his team is excited to be part of the Million Girl Moonshot.
“The Million Girl Moonshot effort in Southeast Michigan will provide students with an understanding of the career opportunities available and the pathways to achieve them. Additionally, their engagement will provide students with focused career preparation skills and the courage to aspire beyond traditional roles,” Agosta said.
Gender and ethnic differences in the science workplace persist, not because of academic performance, but because fewer girls and children of color are exposed to science as an engaging career option. Research shows that when it comes to predicting future career decisions, early interest in science is more significant than test scores.
After-school and out-of-school time programs provide ideal spaces for youth to have fun with science in the same way that young people play sports or explore the arts, said Executive Director Gary Farina of the Michigan STEM Partnership.
“With scientists across the globe racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and students and parents alike relying on computers and the internet to learn and work, it has never been more clear how vital STEM is to our children’s future,” said MASP Executive Director Mary Sutton.