RSVP: STEM - the new buzzword in learning

In case you don't know, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and it's important - really important - to our country's global economic advancement. It's how we can prepare our students for a job market that's requiring more science and technology skills by creating critical thinkers and increasing science literacy, preparing the next generation of innovators.

RSVP (formerly RSVP of Montgomery County) has partnered with the Philadelphia Math and Science Coalition to provide STEM career exploration presenters who visit classrooms and make interactive presentations hoping to inspire middle and high school students.

"We have a group of extremely talented professionals representing STEM careers who are phenomenal presenters," reports Margie Singer, RSVP's STEM program coordinator.


Bill Unrath, safety engineer for PECO, creates a "charge" of excitement for PCAT scholars by demonstrating the power of electric currents in the home. Photo courtesy of RSVP

"Presenters talk about their education, their motivation, their training and their personal stories, which in some cases included a mentor who helped guide them. The students participate in group activities, experiments and demonstrations and get excited about what they're seeing."

If you would like to present your exciting (current or former) STEM career to students, contact Singer at 610-834-1040 ext. 26.

Many students don't see the relevance of having expertise in STEM areas and often get hung up on the stereotype of a geek in a lab coat. STEM skills are in demand by employers, and jobs where tech skills are required are the norm today. Some careers students might consider include the pharmaceutical industry, transportation, technology, social media marketing, graphic design, architecture, marine biology, health care, arts preservation, medical illustration, web development, crime scene investigation, animation, the computer gaming industry and toy design, to name just a few.

Research shows that these subjects aren't being taught in a creative and engaging way. You can't learn science by listening to a lecture. Real learning comes through hands-on applications and interactive presentations. Mentors and role models play an important part in STEM education, especially someone the student can identify with, whether it's through ethnicity, race or gender. For students who have no mentors or family members who can showcase their achievements and successes, role models are crucial. It provides the prospect of hope and possibility.

The only way to excite a student about a career in a STEM field is to spend the time showing them how the work is exciting and important.

If this generation holds hope for graduating students to shape the future, we need a reality check and emerging students, especially those in disadvantaged areas, need our expertise and encouragement.

Having real success in STEM careers doesn't just include science, technology, engineering and math skills, it also includes how we think about those fields. Thinking creatively is fundamental to how we approach and consider new ideas and solve problems. Some forward-thinking educators are including arts education as a critical component to success since creativity is an essential part of innovation.

So if you're still thinking science is for nerds, consider this: How many teenagers love computer gaming? Designing a computer game involves the concept or idea, the software design, visual animation, music and so many other aspects - all science related.

How do you inspire a student? You show her/him the limitless possibilities life has to offer!

RSVP is looking for volunteer STEM field presenters, especially women and minorities. (According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women hold close to half of all jobs in the U.S. but hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.) If you're retired (or still employed) and worked in a relevant industry, you can help to inspire our next generation of students through dynamic presentations.

Presentations typically last for an hour and are scheduled during the school year in schools throughout Philadelphia. This is a great opportunity for corporate employees to share their knowledge, motivate the new upcoming workforce and inspire a student to attain more than they thought possible. Please contact Singer for information at 610-834-1040 ext..26. To learn more about RSVP, visit


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