According to the visitor research organization, Destination DC, the ever-transient hub of political action and thought, D.C., attracted approximately 20 million people in 2016. Among its visitors are the elementary, middle, and high school students visiting from every corner of the States by the thousands- many experiencing their first time out of their Locality.
In the spring of 2016 I had the unforgettable opportunity to work with only a fraction of the young visitors and future influencers who step inside D.C.’s countless immersive educational programs. Quite impressed, I witnessed eager students from Alaska to California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Texas embrace the chance to speak to their state’s representatives about the issues affecting their health, education, economy, security, and employment outlook.
As the young and maturing constituents of far and wide-reaching U.S. Locales brought up their questions, concerns, and hopes, both students and representatives concluded S.T.E.A.M.- centered solutions lay just around the corner on multiple issues. Overall, the topics the students brought up arose from each student’s desire to assure a future that addresses each student’s cause. Utilizing science, technology, engineering, education, art, and math to problem-solve immediately connected to the important community engagement and policy solutions representatives and students discussed.
After all, creating S.T.E.A.M.-centered initiatives directly solve for an endless variety of local concerns. During the meetings, I, the Instructor, gladly stepped back to allow students to fully engage with their representatives regarding their own local concerns. Students from coastal regions worried about keeping their important fishing industry alive. Students from small towns noticed they were the next in line to ensure the economic prosperity of their hometowns. Students from mid-sized towns looked forward to building projects and opportunities that sustain the security and comfort of its people. Students from developing areas pushed the question for reinvesting the right tools into a forgotten (yet economically-critical) river or dam. Students with towns yearning for growth questioned how to convince college graduates to contribute back to the places where their roots lie.
Similar to the immediate impact students feel from the policies at home, S.T.E.A.M. initiatives hold large potential and immediate impact for students and their Locales. S.T.E.A.M. initiatives involve themselves in, and overlap greatly with, goals to build more interactive curriculums to maximize student retention in schools, take proactive steps to fill the increasing amount of S.T.E.A.M. jobs that outpace the S.T.E.A.M. workforce, maintain a healthy and collaborative community culture, and contribute to the average person’s daily routines.
In an effort to encourage S.T.E.A.M. initiatives, the availability of S.T.E.A.M. programs continue to increase. Beyond attraction, curiosity, and even practicality, the need for S.T.E.A.M. contributions to very real issues for all age groups alike leads to a very simple conclusion: The time is ripe to S.T.E.A.M.-roll measures that contribute to tomorrow’s future with today’s decision-makers.
About the Author
Noshin Kuraishi is a freelance writer in Dallas. She harnessed her writing while studying political science at Southern Methodist University. Following her experience as a STEAM instructor, she was a civic instructor in D.C.. She volunteers with educational initiatives and is the Founder and facilitator of the debate meeting group, DebatePAR!.