Museums, science centers, education and industry unite
to stress the importance of STEM education to legislators
ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Science Center will be joined by almost 20 other Florida-based science centers, museums, corporations and educators in a sprawling STEM Day exhibition at the Capitol on Thursday, February 25. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math education – the critical fields for tomorrow’s jobs.
In 2014, Orlando Science Center created STEM Day to engage legislators and help them better understand the growing impacts of STEM education in terms of workforce and economic growth throughout the state. This event showcases how partnerships between science centers, museums, formal education and corporations are filling the STEM pipeline and enhancing STEM education. Last year, Motorola Solutions Foundation hosted an additional STEM Day with a press conference to address the importance of STEM education in Florida. This year, Orlando Science Center and Motorola Solutions Foundation have joined together for a larger event on the same day for increased impact and advocacy.
“For nearly a decade, the Motorola Solutions Foundation has proudly been supporting STEM education through our Innovation Generation grants for FIRST Robotics and other activities,” said Matt Blakely, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “These efforts are helping prepare students for Florida’s future high-tech jobs. We want to show them that innovative careers are not only fun, but also within their reach.”
In addition to technology displays and science demonstrations by several partners in the capitol courtyard and in the rotundas of the capitol itself, STEM Day will feature a press conference featuring remarks by Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Cissy Proctor, Orlando Science Center President and CEO JoAnn Newman and Motorola Solutions Foundation Director Matt Blakely.
“Science Centers play an essential role in engaging youth in STEM learning, which can empower them to pursue further study, degrees and ultimately careers in the science and technology fields,” Newman said. “Partnerships between science centers, education and industry provide students with hands-on exploration of how STEM concepts solve real world problems. We all play a role in filling the pipeline for STEM jobs from cradle to career.”
Participating organizations will be stationed inside and outside the Capitol building with interactive exhibits, simulators, robotics and more. State legislators will experience how museums and science centers bring STEM to life through engaging hands-on experiences while discussing the importance of STEM education as it relates to growing Florida’s technological workforce.
Demonstrations will include a real-life, human-sized version of the video game “Angry Birds”; 3-D printing; FIRST Robotics teams of all ages and levels with different types of robots they created, including autonomous and manual; robotics and virtual reality demonstrations; and hands-on activities pertaining to STEM in Wildlife Conservation.
STEM has evolved to become a critically important topic in education and industry. Research shows that only 4 percent of workers are in STEM careers but that they create jobs for the 96 percent in other fields. Of the 15 Major Study categories, engineering has the highest median earnings, yet less than 20 percent of students choose a STEM path. As a result, it is projected that the U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skilled workers by 2018.