Three Ways To Inspire High School Students to Explore STEM

Stefani Falkowski
November 8, 2019

As STEM-related industries continue to grow, education and business must continue to prepare high school students to meet the demands of this ever-evolving job market.

Fortunately, you can help! Professionals in STEM have the power to open doors for high school students and develop the next generation of STEM leaders. This National STEM Day, check out some of the ways NAF volunteers have empowered students to explore a future in STEM.

1.One small step for man, one giant leap for high school students

Speaking to a class about your career in STEM is a great way to get students excited about a future in STEM.

Sure, books and lectures can teach students about science, technology, engineering, and math, but there’s nothing quite like meeting a software developer, biochemists, civil engineers, or maybe even a former NASA astronaut! Students from the Hillside High School Business & Finance Academy had the opportunity to hear and learn from former NASA astronaut, Major General Charles Bolden as part of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation at Lenovo’s Morrisville HQ this fall. Major General Bolden, who logged 680 hours in space, talked to students about his career at NASA, serving as the first African American administrator from 2009 to 2017.

Haven’t traveled to space? That’s no problem. High school students are eager to learn from your unique professional expertise. Whether you’re writing code, crunching numbers, taking vitals, or anything in between, NAF academy students can learn so much from you guest speaking at their academy.

2. Sometimes all you need is good WiFi to make a huge impact

You don’t have to go to space to share your passion for STEM with high school students. In fact, sometimes all you need is a computer and your professional insight.

NAF alumna and Chaos Engineer at Gremlin, Ana Medina and Program Manager at Google Cloud, Sofie Thixton hosted a Women In Tech webinar for NAF students across the country. From the comfort of their office, these volunteers shared career advice and their perspective as women in STEM-related industries.

If you have a computer or smartphone, you too can share STEM career tips and virtually inspire students to pursue STEM.

3. Learning STEM on the job

Hiring high school interns gives them a chance to experience a STEM job first-hand and learn the skills they will need to kickstart their STEM careers.

For Hillcrest High School NAF Academy of Engineering student, Brandon, an internship at Verizon allowed him to discover his true passion in STEM. While he was hired to be a maintenance testing engineer, Brandon was assigned a few coding projects. He quickly realized he loved coding. “That’s when I noticed that software development was something that I was interested in and I wanted to experiment going down that path,” he says.

Aspiring emergency physician and Bryan Adams High School Academy of Health Sciences student, Lizbeth credits her internship at Baylor Scott & White Former Doctor’s Hospital for giving her the opportunity to grow professionally. “It really teaches you about yourself,” she said. “I didn’t know any of my weaknesses before I went into the interview. It helped me grow as a person.”

High school internships are enabling the next generation of coders and physicians like Brandon and Lizbeth. By hiring high school interns, you and your colleagues have the power to help young people explore their passions in STEM and to develop the ever-growing STEM talent pipeline.

Interested in empowering high school students through STEM career education? Learn more about getting involved.

View Bio

Stefani Falkowski is the Digital Marketing Manager at NAF. She's passionate about universal access to education and giving a platform to students across the country doing incredible things. Stefani writes about workforce development, career building, and the impact of the NAF network.