Houston STEM Education Day Mission
Houston STEM Education Day is an annual, collaborative, celebratory project whose aim is to raise awareness of the importance of STEM education, and to improve the quality of STEM education in the greater Houston area. Through the opportunity to collaborate with other educators, industry representatives, and nonprofit leaders at this event, the goal is to increase the access to resources for students and educators, and to equip educators with new knowledge on a variety of STEM topics.
Each year, Houston STEM Education Day focuses on a specific theme designed to provide professional development opportunities for teachers and others attending the day’s event. This year’s theme is STEM Connected.
STEM Education Day History
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational employment projections to 2018 report in November 2009:
“The U.S. will have more than 1.2 million job openings in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related occupations by 2018. These include scientists, doctors, software developers and engineers. Yet, there will be a significant shortage of qualified college graduates to fill these careers. For the U.S. to succeed and continue to play a leadership role in addressing tough global challenges, we must do a better job of engaging students in these subjects and encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.”
In 2013, schools, universities, organizations, and cities responded across Texas to a call to address this issue. In a matter of months, the Celebration STEM Education Week in Texas (CSEWT), initiative gathered impressive momentum, and soon events that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education were being planned all over the state. Panels were hosted, a luncheon was conducted and awards for excellence in STEM education were presented. In Houston, where the CSEWT project was born, a feature event, STEM Education Day, hosted nearly 250 teachers, counselors and individuals working in STEM industry.
STEM Education Day continued to be a part of the CSEWT for the next four years through the efforts of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) STEM Education Task Force, as well as individuals from companies such as Citgo, Shell Oil, CenterPoint Energy, University of Houston-Downtown, HCC, Harmony Public Schools and Houston ISD among others.
CSEWT was born from the efforts of the GHP and Harmony Public Schools, but the roots of the event go back much farther. A project organized by Lane Sloan called the Greater Houston Energy Education Collaborative (GHEEC) was started in 2004 to bring together educators, industry, civic leaders, and policy makers around the challenges of energy education called the. The goals of this group were to unite efforts across Houston and Texas to promote STEM education and connect the goals of STEM education with community and policy initiatives. This effort became part of the GHP when Lane became the Director of GHP. For many years, this group worked through various GHP committees to identify, recognize, and support the most successful and promising STEM programs in Houston. In 2012, under the leadership of Marshall Schott, the group organized the first Texas STEM Education Day. As the GHP began to change course, the STEM Day Executive Committee became an independent group, still under the leadership of Marshall Schott. Upon Marshall’s departure for an opportunity in Indonesia, Mike Alvarez from Shell led the efforts for the 2015 STEM Education Day. In 2016, members of the executive committee approached UHD about taking on the organizational role for the committee. The 2016 STEM Day introduced many new features and overcame many unique challenges to become Houston STEM Education Day.
You are invited to be a part of this week-long celebration that aims to increase public awareness of STEM education across Texas by becoming a partner and/or an event sponsor, or perhaps by hosting your own event that highlights and celebrates STEM education. It is our hope to involve as many STEM-centered organizations, businesses and educational institutions as possible, truly making this a statewide celebration of STEM education.