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Academics is Building the Next Generation of STEM Leaders, the national hub for youth-centered activism, invites students across the United States to join Make STEM 100%, a program designed to support exploration in the field and activate young people as advocates in closing STEM readiness and diversity gaps, according to a recent press release. The program, launched in partnership with 3M and the General Motors Foundation, helps demystify STEM opportunities available to students, highlights the importance of skills gained as a critical tool in a young change makers’ toolkit, and positions young leaders to advocate for more equitable STEM education and curriculum.

In a survey conducted in late 2022, DoSomething members ages 13-25, expressed interest in learning about career opportunities in STEM. Students indicated that their school and extracurricular activities did not prepare them for STEM careers and cited obstacles, such as lack of mentors and teachers with subject matter expertise, as well as a lack of confidence about pursuing STEM subjects.

“In the U.S., only 20 percent of high school graduates are prepared for college-level coursework in STEM. This woefully low statistic represents an equity gap and a direct concern for our membership and all young people,” said DoSomething CEO DeNora Getachew. “Yet STEM careers are projected to grow over 8 percent per year, faster than any other sector. Getting STEM readiness to one hundred percent is a critical pathway in creating equitable economic opportunity and mobility for all students and ensuring that they are equipped to forge a future in this growing and essential field.

DoSomething partnered with STEM activist, influencer, and NYU student Alexis Williams, for a ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ PSA that reveals these startling gaps through playing a STEM-themed version of the popular quiz game with students on the UCLA campus.

“As a black and latina queer programmer, I’m passionate about further exploring the intersection of social activism and tech,” said Williams. “Speaking with students and illuminating the current diversity gaps that still exist in STEM was a clear reminder that now is the time to act. Robust and equitable STEM education is key to building a future that serves us all!”

The PSA calls on students to take civic action and advocate for more equitable STEM offerings in their school to increase the number of students with access to STEM courses and skills. To learn more about the facts and how to be an advocate for change, you can view the PSA here.

DoSomething also convened a group of experts and young leaders in STEM for a virtual event to discuss STEM equity and representation; how young people can create their own STEM roadmap in the field; and provide concrete ways for young people to gain confidence to pursue STEM opportunities. The entire conversation can be viewed here.

Make STEM 100% also features a curated resource guide for young people to share offerings (courses, internships, partner organizations, etc.) with their peers to advance their interests and gain real life experience in the field.

“The outlook for science is promising — especially among young people. Our State of Science study found that Millennials and Gen Z both have a higher appreciation for science and expect it to drive social impact, with a focus on solutions for sustainability, healthcare and STEM equity,” said Dr Jayshree Seth, 3M Corporate Scientists and Chief Science Advocate. “But more work is needed, and we need more diverse voices. The world requires innovation. Innovation needs science. Science demands diversity. Diversity warrants equity.”

“A strong education and foundation in STEM can serve as a catalyst for change in our society,” said Terry Rhadigan, vice president of Corporate Giving at General Motors. “We believe that the Make STEM 100% program will help to close gaps and equip students from all backgrounds with the STEM skills and knowledge needed to tackle a wide range of issues that impact young people, including racial discrimination, climate change and more.”

Students that participate in either portion of the program by March 27th–advocating to their school administrators for more robust STEM education or sharing a STEM resource guide–are automatically entered to earn a $1,000 scholarship.

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