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Let’s help illuminate STEM career pathways for youth

By Rebecca Meyer I recently encountered a video clip from the renowned Minnesota author, Nora McInerny, where she states a response to the question: “What is something you didn’t know until an embarrassingly late age?” Her response: “I was in college, late college, an honors college student before I realized engineering majors were not learning to drive trains.” I find that all too often, the careers into which young people aspire are opaque. Like Nora’s perceptions of engineering, these youth may not really know what’s involved or necessary to navigate a successful pathway into their chosen career. This has me wondering more about the types of support that are important to help youth chart these pathways, especially as it relates to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In STEM, we often focus on initiating sparks using the engineering design process or science inquiry through a variety of programs and activities, like the 4-H Engineering Design Challenge program.
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