As Wyoming teachers gear up for another school year, thereâ€™s more emphasis than ever on improving so-called STEM education in the state. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As Wyoming Public Radioâ€™s Aaron Schrank reports, the number of jobs in these fields is rapidly rising in Wyoming, and the stateâ€™s education leaders are working together to prepare.
Wyomingâ€™s Council for Womenâ€™s Issues will host itsÂ ninth annual career fair next month.
Open to high school girls in 9th and 10th grade, the Go WEST! fair will highlight careers in science, technology, engineering andÂ math â€“ fields largely dominated by men. According to the national science foundation, just 18.6 percent of US undergraduate engineering students were female in 2011.
Carma Corra, chairperson of Wyomingâ€™s Council for Womenâ€™s Issues, says knowing the options is the first step to getting girls interested in studying science and math.
Uinta County parents and teachers say they were left out of the decision making process when the school superintendent announced he would scale back art classes in elementary schools to make more time for science.Â Superintendent James Bailey says students were only getting about 1 or 2 days of science a week, which wasnâ€™t enough since state assessments will soon be testing kids in science.Â But last week, Bailey met with teachers and came up with a possible plan to integrate the two subjects.Â He says the plan could actually improve the districtâ€™s curriculum.
Jessica Friis, a horticulturalist for the Paul Smith Childrenâ€™s Village at Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, watches two Douglas Middle School students during her â€śHydroponic Plantâ€ť course at last yearâ€™s Women in Science Conference. More than 500 female high school and middle school students are expected to attend this yearâ€™s event at UW.
Credit Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium / University of Wyoming
More than 500 girls from across Wyoming will gather at the University of Wyoming Tuesday for the annual Women in Science Conference.
The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium hosts the event, during which the middle- and high-school students learn about various applications of science, technology, math and engineering. In past years, students have identified animal skulls, developed computer games, and learned about anatomy in UWâ€™s Human Cadaver Lab. Many of the scientists leading the programs are women.