Science-On-Wheels Encourages STEM Education
To encourage underrepresented minority and female students to pursue careers in engineering and science, the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) launched the Trailblazer II.
It is a 40-foot trailer loaded with interactive exhibits aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for Texas youth—during a special ceremony Thursday at the 3M Austin Innovation Center.
Equipped with five exhibits focused on space, energy, weather, aerodynamics and biotechnology, the Trailblazer II, the second unit to the Trailblazer fleet, provides hands-on activities to third through eighth grade students, encouraging them to explore science and mathematics and to consider STEM careers.
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The program aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities and females pursuing STEM careers. Currently, more than half of the U.S. population is female, yet only 12 percent of the nation’s practicing engineers are women.
In addition, less than 10 percent of engineering professionals are African American, Hispanic or Native American, while these minority groups represent more than 25 percent of the population.
“Adding a second unit to the Trailblazer program increases TAME’s opportunities to highlight exciting STEM careers to more students across Texas,” said Savita Raj, executive director of TAME.
“We are honored to collaborate with generous corporations that also see the value in investing in STEM education.”
Five major corporations and TAME board members teamed up to launch the Trailblazer II, raising more than $250,000 for the initiative. 3M provided additional program funding so that underserved schools in the Austin area can partake in the program.