I’m wondering – what are the best ways to prepare my daughter for a top career in STEM?
It’s no secret that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers are some of the most highly paid and in-demand jobs in the world today. From data analysts and medical practitioners, to engineers and computer programmers, the demand for STEM jobs is skyrocketing, especially with the global pandemic. Knowledge of technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are key to helping companies recover from the impact of Covid-19, and our children may be doing jobs in STEM in the future that haven’t even been invented yet!
It’s unfortunately also true that women are outrageously underrepresented in STEM fields. There are currently only 28% of women in STEM fields as opposed to 72% of men. Women frequently report being the only female in their STEM school or university course. The gender pay gap is a real issue. With women routinely earning 10% less than men, it’s important that our daughters are equipped to succeed in the world’s most lucrative careers, if they want to pursue them.
My daughter is a big fan of science experiments, and has always loved maths. I want to make sure she has the tools and experiences to go into a top career in STEM if she chooses.
So, I did some research and found some top ways to prepare our daughters for an outstanding career in STEM. Let’s dive right in.
How do I prepare my daughter for a top career in STEM?
Attend a summer school
Taking a deep dive into STEM subjects in a new, intellectually enriching and nurturing environment is the best way to prepare your daughter for a top career in STEM.
Oxford Royale Academy (ORA) offers a range of fascinating summer courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Your daughter could be learning about automotive engineering, IOS coding, or computer programming, while living on-campus at the world famous University of Oxford.
With ORA, your daughter will live, sleep and dine in Oxford’s prestigious colleges such as Balliol College or University College, which produced some of the world’s greatest scientific and mathematical pioneers. These awe-inspiring surroundings are sure to inspire your daughter’s interest in STEM, and all its innovations.
One of ORA’s finest points is its elite quality of teaching. Your daughter will be inspired by top Oxbridge tutors in STEM subjects and receive the finest teaching and knowledge from STEM industry leaders. Let’s look at just a few of ORA’s STEM courses.
ORA’s Artificial Intelligence course is a fantastic opportunity to introduce your daughter to one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative fields in science. Your daughter will learn to teach programmes to perform prediction tasks and detect real-time objects, and develop her own programme that can make predictions about the future.
Your daughter will construct a road-worthy car, and gain key skills in this competitive field of engineering. She will fully understand the automotive engineering life-cycle, from concept designs to quality control. When her car meets the manufactures’ safety checks, she’ll enjoy an exciting track day in the car she’s built!
ORA’s medicine courses offer your daughter a fantastic introduction to further studies in Medicine or medical science degrees. Your daughter will gain strong knowledge, skills and practical experience in medicine, in the very labs where scientists discovered the structure of Penicillin, and launched some of the world’s greatest scientists/
I was most impressed by the testimonies from students who it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to study in the future, when you start a course at ORA. The experience of top-quality teaching and access to the spaces and institutions of the top university in the world helps you discover your future passion and potential career. This is the perfect if you want to introduce your daughter to the world of STEM, but she isn’t sure where her interests lie.
Extracurricular Activities in STEM
“A successful tomorrow depends on the education our students receive today. Education must not stop at the end of the school day”, writes Eileen Wurz, a science educator and mum. We hear a lot about extracurricular activities for dance and sports. Yet, we don’t hear nearly as much about the exciting STEM clubs and activities children can do, that may spark a lifelong interest and a lucrative career.
If your daughter does STEM activities outside of just sitting in a classroom and learning some theory, these will help her to see that STEM is connected to the world around us, and will enrich her passion for it.
Let your daughter learn about the science of viscosity or density through gloopy liquids or density jars at science club. Foster her fascination with technology through age-appropriate coding classes. Let her explore engineering at engineering clubs, through designing, building and creating different things.
Mellissa, who has a Ph.D. in STEM research, suggests that you should “treat maths like a sport” for your daughter. As Maths is the gateway to education and a career in STEM, it needs the same kind of practice as throwing a ball. Let your daughter attend maths clubs, and get calculus and statistics under her belt before she applies to university.
Research clubs in your local area (whether they are in-person or online) which offer age-appropriate activities and education on science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Your daughter’s school might even run a few.
If afterschool clubs or extracurricular activities prove too pricey, you can easily do some of these activities and experiments at home with your daughter, providing it’s safe to do so.
3 Make STEM a part of everyday life -These don’t have to be expensive.
Amazing online resources
As a mum on a budget (during a pandemic) there’s never been a better time to explore the extraordinary range of free online resources for STEM subjects. These resources, which contain fun experiments and compelling learning activities, are perfect for enhancing your daughter’s passion for STEM outside of school, or supplementing her studies. With schools continually closing and re-opening due to Covid-19 around the world, these are especially useful for keeping your children engaged at home. Here is one example:
The IET is offering a strong range of free STEM resources for primary and secondary school children aged 4-16 years old.
For your daughter aged 4-10, IET offer lessons on how to calculate the age of a tree through its circumference, make a device to measure wind speed and complete a treasure hunt on a map using coordinates, vectors and angles.
Incredibly, if your daughter is aged 11-16, IET offer resources to help her make and test an aerofoil to enhance your Aerodynamics skills, crack codes, and make a model of a robot arm.
Make STEM a part of her everyday world
One of the best ways to get your daughter buzzing about STEM, is to emphasise that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are not just subjects you learn at school in the classroom. When your daughter realises that STEM is embedded in every part of her life she will realise its importance.
Children, especially young children, are always asking ‘why?’, and ‘how does that work’. It’s so important that we nurture these questions and encourage their curiosity through play, because this curiosity leads to the natural discovery of STEM ideas.
You can start making STEM a part of your daughter’s everyday life, by exploring cooking. Every kid loves to bake and decorate cupcakes, for example, and this is a great opportunity to learn about the chemistry of food, and the mathematics involved in measuring ingredients.
To enhance your daughter’s interest in engineering, you could emphasize to her that engineering isn’t some random, obscure term. An engineer is someone who helps create the world around us, from engines and machines, to bridges and vehicles. You could bring your daughter on a trip to the train station or airport, and just chat about the different ways vehicle and aircraft are structured. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be complicated – just some quick googling will give you the basic facts!
Introduce her to role models
A lack of visible female representation in STEM often leads to a drop in interest for girls in STEM subjects. This is totally understandable – how can we inspire our daughters if they don’t visibly see themselves in these careers? Over half of women aged 11-30 who looked up to a real or fictional role models in STEM said they were interested in working in the sector.
One of the most powerful things you can do to prepare your daughter for a top career in STEM, is to introduce her to some amazing real leaders in STEM, who happen to be female. Let’s look at a few:
Margaret Heafield Hamilton
Margaret Hamilton is an American computer scientist and systems engineer who wrote the code that got humans on the moon. As a spaceship programmer, Hamilton was positively radical. She created the software for the Apollo Guidance Computer, and fixed a malfunction had could have prevented Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong (the first men on the moon) from landing safely.
Famous physician, engineer and astronaut Mae Jemison was the first African American woman in space. She served as a mission specialist abroad the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and conducted key experiments in weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew and herself.
Mileva Maric Einstein
Mileva Maric Einstein was an extraordinarily talented physicist. She studied physics at the all-make Royal Classical Gymnasium and the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich, at a time where scarcely any women were admitted to higher educational institutions. She married the famous physicist Albert Einstein, and their letters prove how they collaborated on ideas, theories and experiments together. Einstein refers in letters to Mileva, to “our theory of relative motion” – but of course, she didn’t get any recognition until much later.
We’ve now looked into several different ways to prepare your daughter for a top career in STEM. I hope you’ve found it useful and inspiring, and I can’t wait to see our daughters take on the future!
How to Prepare Your Daughter for a Top Career in STEMis a feature post