Lemelson-MIT Program: Teens need tech mentors
American teens approach the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with increasingly positive attitudes, according to the latest survey from the Lemelson-MIT Program, a Cambridge nonprofit organization that seeks to recognize outstanding inventors and inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.
There was a downside, however, to the 2009 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index: Many teens lack the necessary encouragement from mentors and role models in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which the program collectively refers to as STEM.
The program's annual survey aims to gauge Americans’ perceptions about invention and innovation, the Lemelson-MIT Program said in a press release, and the graphic that appears above this post, which was provided by the program, shows that this year's survey results indicate that many teens are motivated by altruistic reasons to pursue STEM careers.
The press release included a statement from Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer with the Lemelson-MIT Program.
“As an educator, it’s exciting to see that teens have such positive perceptions about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," Estabrooks said. "Traditionally, many students find these subjects intimidating. Increased exposure to STEM through hands-on learning and interaction with teachers and professionals in these fields may be partly responsible for this positive shift in teens’ perceptions. It may also continue to help shake off any existing stereotypes, making STEM careers seem more accessible.
One initiative of the Lemelson-MIT Program is Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, which are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems.
The 2008-2009 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative has provided nearly 350 teens with real-world experience and role models in STEM, the program said.
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)