IEEE President’s Note: New STEM Portal Offers a Chance to Give Back

Volunteers can find outreach programs in their area on the Volunteer STEM Portal

4 min read
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Susan K. Land

THE INSTITUTE Think back to what inspired you to become an engineer or technology professional. Perhaps it was an individual who encouraged you early in your life or possibly a mentor. Unfortunately, many students never have such an opportunity. However, IEEE is now in a great position to inspire students to pursue engineering and show them a new world of engagement and opportunity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

As we all know, IEEE’s mission is to advance technology for humanity. This technology originates from the creativity, innovation, and imagination of our global community, which is made up of engineers and technologists from a variety of fields including biological and medical science, computer science, education, information technology, mathematics, management, law and policy, physical science, and technical communications. For this community to continue to thrive and expand, it requires a diverse and talented pool of students. With the launch of IEEE’s Volunteer STEM Portal, IEEE now has a resource to help students choose a STEM career.

The number of jobs available in STEM fields is increasing, and the jobs pay well because STEM fields are key to reaping the rewards of the current technology revolution. That includes access to improved health care and education, as well as a higher standard of living. STEM jobs are also key to dealing with the potential downside of emerging disruptors such as climate change, cybercrime, and privacy issues.

How to Utilize the Portal

• Browse the library of STEM programs for ideas to adapt for your IEEE unit.

• Discover what STEM outreach events are happening in your region so you can make connections and build your local STEM community.

• Showcase your STEM programs to give ideas and encouragement to others.

• Share your results to help us measure IEEE’s impact.

• Learn how to take your STEM program to the next level with proven strategies and high-quality resources.

Ensuring there is a pool of diverse, talented individuals entering engineering and technology fields around the world is an important part of IEEE’s mission. It also aligns strongly with one of my personal missions as an IEEE leader: to promote and empower the next generation of technical experts by supporting student chapters and our Women in Engineering and Young Professionals affinity groups. These important groups not only represent the future of technology but also the future of IEEE.

Today’s students are the engineering and technology workforce of tomorrow that will develop solutions to improve our world. A more diverse, balanced combination of men and women in STEM jobs and leadership positions would not only improve creativity and innovation, it also would lead to positive fiscal and sociocultural change. Greater inclusion leads to stronger economic growth and enhanced communal well-being.

IEEE is invested in inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals. IEEE volunteers are helping to spark excitement about engineering and technology through IEEE’s preuniversity STEM education programs.

Delivering STEM outreach programs builds an appreciation in students for what engineering and technological professionals do and how they impact our lives, while also generating an understanding of and enthusiasm about STEM careers. The many IEEE members who volunteer to network, mentor, and participate in these programs provide a direct connection between these professions and students. IEEE’s Volunteer STEM Portal is designed to make it easier to participate in this important mission.

Go-to resource

IEEE’s Volunteer STEM Portal is the go-to resource for IEEE volunteers and operating units—student branches, chapters, sections, and technical societies and councils. It allows access to a searchable library of STEM programs developed by IEEE members. The portal includes how-to resources and best practices to make it easier to develop and implement STEM outreach programs. The portal also provides a place to collect data and understand the impact the IEEE community is having on preuniversity students and educators around the globe.

I encourage all members to look at the portal and see what opportunities exist. Together, we can demonstrate the collective impact IEEE is making in inspiring the STEM professionals of tomorrow. As stewards of these fields, IEEE and its members are central to this mission. If you know of a STEM outreach program that might be useful to IEEE volunteers, consider requesting that it be included in the portal’s catalog of programs. Working together, we can draw on the experiences of others to help make all IEEE programs more successful.

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IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

More IEEE STEM Resources

Check the Web for additional resources from IEEE TryEngineering and EPICS in IEEE.

Visit theTryEngineering website to see how it empowers educators to foster the next generation of technology innovators. The site provides educators and students with resources, lesson plans, and activities designed to engage and inspire.

The Engineering Lesson Plan Toolkit helps volunteers deliver an effective teacher-led STEM training activity in their community. Each kit offers a video that focuses on the design challenge and possible solutions, as well as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to use when implementing the lesson plan.

The monthly blog and webinar series TryEngineering Tuesday features IEEE technical societies with related activities for preuniversity students. Each topic has its own badge that educators, volunteers, or parents can award to students.

Held on university campuses across the United States, the TryEngineering Summer Instituteallows students ages 13 to 17 to explore STEM in a whole new way. The institute offers innovative design challenges, along with personalized instruction and advice from industry guest speakers.

Across the globe, engineers, students, and community organizations come together to transform lives through EPICS in IEEE. EPICS has facilitated more than 130 projects in 30-plus countries, impacting more than 250,000 people.

Source: IEEE Educational Activities

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