Youth inspired by STEM shares her story

The story shared by one youth of how programs like MSU Extension’s science literacy team inspired them to pursue a STEM career.

Picture of a girl's face imposed on a picture of a brain and spine with constellations.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Michigan State University Extension 4-H science team’s goal is to inspire youth and increase STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) literacy across Michigan. One way we increase interest in STEM is to provide information and ideas for engaging youth in the exploration of their world. Esha is one youth who has been inspired by the MSU Extension science team.

A year ago, Esha contacted MSU Extension and began chatting about STEM, STEM opportunities and writing about STEM. Esha has a blog, and is passionate about STEM and writing, so she was invited her to share her STEM story, which is as follows.

My name is Esha Salman; I am a junior in high school. For as long as I can remember, I have always been passionate about reporting on many social issues through writing. It has acted as an outlet for me to reflect upon components of society and has allowed me to build upon my hobby of exploring elements of science in the modern age. Writing became my gateway into unlocking the world of STEM. Through my writing I was able to share my research of many STEM topics such as water and air pollution. I was able to make a connection between science and writing, and this encouraged me to pursue STEM as my future career.

As a child, I was mainly exposed to STEM careers. But without understanding the educational weight that each career in STEM offered me, I was dissuaded to ever pursue this path. I was also an avid movie watcher, and it influenced my decision for my future career; I was set on being an actor.

After taking the time to learn about the role that STEM plays in my life, such as the many elements that are part of the things that design those same movies I used to watch, I was intrigued by the many ways that I could immerse myself in the fields of STEM. I took the time to do my own research on STEM fields, and was slowly accumulating a passion for the many things that STEM plays a role in. I took a greater interest in biology and paid closer attention to the anatomies of organisms and devices that I constantly used. I became more intrigued by the inner workings of the human brain and started to find a pattern in the multiple math equations that I was assigned for homework every night.

The need for STEM is more important than ever, and the main goal to get every child excited or at least be aware about the amazing reality of STEM rather than the dreary facade that people push out is necessary for generational advancement. Organizations such as MSU Extension, 4-H and STEM-E, which is based in Houston, Texas, help facilitate resources to students that actively engage them in hands-on learning processes that develop their understanding and passion for STEM. STEM-E is one organization that broadened my narrowed mindset on STEM and allowed me to discover a new world full of endless possibilities that I could access through remote learning. By taking advantage of the multiple resources that STEM-E gave me, I was able to connect with STEM and explore future career opportunities.

At MSU Extension, we agree that STEM engages youth in identifying problems and designing solutions as they explore and understand their world - the backyard, a pond, a frozen hill, outer space, or a pet dog. Science is not about being right or wrong, but rather working through questions with curiosity to discover answers. Identifying problems and designing solutions develops an interest for lifelong learning. A scientist or engineer is an explorer, always on the hunt for the why and how. You can help youth become lifelong learners as they explore their world by engaging them to ask questions and discover answers.

For more ways to encourage youth to become lifelong learners exploring their world, visit the MSU Extension 4-H Teaching Science When You Don’t Know Diddly-squat seriesa series of free activities designed to encourage the joy of discovery by asking questions and discovering answers. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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