Students from UC Merced’s Young Engineer and Scientist (YES) Academy visited Merced’s Pioneer Elementary School to help promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields last week.
About 180 fourth graders were introduced to STEM through various activities, including demonstrations of how chemicals interact with each other through a volcano experiment, an aeronautical demonstration with quadcopters and a demonstration of how solar circuits are built.
YES Academy students are from UC Merced’s School of Engineering and are members of several STEM professional clubs on campus that are focused on expanding education and career opportunities for UC Merced students in engineering fields. Student organizations AIAA, MESA Lab, Ingenieros Unidos (SHPE), UC Merced Solar Energy Association and the Society of Physics Students also provided support for the event.
Studies show that STEM employees earn more, on average, and the unemployment rate in STEM fields is half of that for non-STEM workers. The studies mention that only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and are interested in STEM careers.
“Local, national and global leaders turn to engineers and scientists to solve the challenges of today,” said Petia Gueorguieva, coordinator of the UC Merced STEM Resource Center. “Yet, not enough students on a national basis are showing interest in these and related subjects.”