Science: The First Frontier

By Sally Ride

Science and technology are the engines that drive our economy. Yet, our society places little emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

STEM education is critical to inspire the next generation and to prepare the future workforce. Of the 10 fastest growing occupations, eight are science, math or technology related. In addition, the basic living wage jobs of tomorrow will rely heavily on STEM skills, with nearly 80 percent of new jobs requiring some form of math or science.

Students who have a solid foundation in science and math are prepared to pursue a wide range of opportunities in high school, college, and the workplace. Yet many students -- particularly girls and students from diverse cultural backgrounds -- are leaving school without the confidence or preparation they need in these subjects.

As early as elementary school, students should be encouraged to think about their futures and possible career goals. Educators can guide students in evaluating their strengths, values, and interests. It is never too soon for students to start dreaming.

Many scientists found their careers by doing what they love and following their interests. Even if students don’t decide to explore a science career, the skills they learn in these classes are an essential part of everyday life.

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