Episode 9 — STEM Education

In this episode, Chris and Jeff discuss STEM education with two educators/engineers in the field who are working to help kids learn more about engineering and stay excited about the field.

  • Chris started wanting to work on cell phones.
  • Jeff’s dad is an engineer and built heathkit stereos.
  • Bill Porter works for the Navy and runs the science brothers program.
  • Dave Young is a consultant who also runs the Blue Stamp Engineering program.
  • Dave wants to show kids that engineering is engaging and you can make money making stuff.
  • Bill wants to remove stigma around being interested and excited about science.
  • Funding for Bill comes through public affairs and grants through the Office of Naval research.
  • Very hard to track progress, but it’s required for funding from governmental programs.
  • Dave’s program is funded directly by students but has some anonymous donors that helped students with their tuition.
  • Both programs don’t deliniate between science and engineering.
  • There are problems in growing programs but maintaining small ratios of student to teachers is important.
  • Context is an important component of the Blue Stamp program.
  • Another important component is learning the differences between what should work and what does work.
  • You still need to explain that math is necessary but that it’s not an everyday occurrence in real engineering.
  • The difference between learning how to do something and learning how to do something and how it matters.
  • In an interview with president of Olin college on Boston public radio┬áhe talked about how engineering doesn’t have professors from industry, whereas other fields do.
  • 50% of students that start in engineering don’t end up graduating.
  • Dave thinks that there is a further funneling because many that leave school don’t know how to do anything.
  • Should the focus on well roundedness be reduced in STEM education?
  • Well roundedness doesn’t have to be across fields, it could be within scientific fields.
  • Dave came up with BSE at a bus stop with his partner Robin.
  • Bill was recruited to revive the Science Brothers program after attending a girl scout day and wowing the kids with robots and light up coats.
  • Seaperch.org is an online program by the navy to build an ROV.
  • Online learning will help with some of the “unofficial education” that will increase exposure.
  • More info about Dave’s program at BlueStampEngineering.com
  • More info about Bill’s program at Sciencebrothers.org

Thanks to Magnuscanis for the image of Einstein’s Blackboard

5 thoughts on “Episode 9 — STEM Education”

  1. Extremely inspiring show – great to see people out there with the youth! I think there are tons of existing opportunities for STEM minded folks to help out if they just look around. I spent a couple hours a week teaching programming to kids in Akron, Ohio in an after school program and I found that I learned more about programming then I ever could have if I stayed at home and complained that kids don’t like STEM anymore.

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