Tuesday, November 8th, is National STEAM Day! This unofficial holiday celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics education in the United States with the goal of encouraging and inspiring youth to pursue careers in STEAM fields through fun and engaging educational instruction. Here’s why it matters.
The reason for the importance of STEAM education in the U.S. is two-fold.
Studies in the early 2000s found that U.S. students were falling behind in their understanding of STEM subjects compared to students in other countries. In order to ensure that the United States could keep up with global competitors and companies would have the future workforce talent to stay on the cutting-edge, country leaders and policymakers began to focus heavily on improving science, technology, and math curricula.
The second reason is that STEM-related careers pay more. 2021 research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that all STEM occupations have an annual mean wage of $100,000. The annual mean wage of all non-STEM occupations? Approximately $55,000.
From an economic perspective, an enhanced STEAM curriculum is critical to an improved, more innovative U.S. economy with better-paying opportunities for citizens.
So where does the “A” come into play? Why does everyone say STEAM instead of STEM these days? In short, incorporating the arts in STEM studies allows for more creative thinking and engagement among students.
Steamtruck.org explains it best: “In a report titled “How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement,” the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies points to data that shows the benefits of incorporating arts into a student’s school day. Researchers found that students scored better on standardized tests when they were more active in the arts — compared to those who were less active in the arts.”
In Savannah, the number of STEAM opportunities outside of our school systems are few and far between. We’re working to change that and are focusing on improving and growing STEAM education through opportunities for youth to have hands-on, real-world experiences in these subjects. Moreover, we aim to increase the diversity of individuals participating in STEAM programs to ensure opportunities for all students.
With support from the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, the City of Savannah, and the Savannah Economic Development Authority, we are able to run several STEAM workshops and camps each year at no cost to youth participants. On average, we serve over 100 K-12 children each year, and in 2022, we’re on track to serve 150 youth. Our goal moving into 2023 is to raise at least $15,000 to double the number of youth we serve.
On National STEAM Day 2022, we’re announcing the launch of this year’s eSTEAM campaign to support this goal. Our eSTEAM Fund is dedicated to cultivating entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics programming for K-12 youth in the region. One hundred percent of the funds raised go to support these programs. You can learn more about the eSTEAM fund, the programs it supports, and ways to contribute by visiting our page here.