November 8th is national STEM day.
What is STEM? STEM is a term that groups together the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and often comes up in regard to education policy or when looking at national trends such as career readiness, economic development, immigration, or when looking at gaps in equity and access across fields.
The term STEM began gaining traction in the 1990s. Over the years, however, there have been many iterations and little consensus on what gets included: from STEAM (the additions of Arts), to STREAM (where the R can mean Robotics or Research), to STEAHM, a newer interdisciplinary acronym explored within CSUN’s The Autonomy Research Center for STEAHM (ARCS), which “is a NASA-launched university center of excellence, forging research collaborations between physical, social, and behavioral science (S); technology and engineering (T); entrepreneurship and business (E); arts (A); humanities (H); and mathematics (M).”
In the United States, STEM/STEAM/etc. education, access, and equity is still fraught. Recent studies by the U.S. National Census indicate that while a STEM major does not always lead to a STEM career, it does correlate with generally higher earnings. Differences along gender, race, national, and class lines continue to show up within access to opportunities in STEM.
While the acronyms many flux and change, the need for interdisciplinary expertise in areas of design, engineering, research, and sciences is always a cultural touchpoint. Having access to STEM/STEAM education and exposure to these fields is of ongoing importance for all people and for the social good.
You’ll find a good number of STEM projects and opportunities across CSUN campus, and on an ongoing basis within the University Library. The Library’s Creative Maker Studio (CMS) offers regular workshops that offer hands-on experience in many areas including STEM and design.
On the day of this blog’s publication, the CMS is offering an online workshop on 3D Design with SolidWorks (November 7, 12:30-2:00pm). “Used heavily in the engineering field, Solidworks is the industry standard 3D design program that will give you the precision necessary to draft your next design.” Don’t fret if you missed this workshop, though–just drop the CMS a line, checkout their software support options, and be sure to keep on eye on their workshop offerings and sign up here.
Other upcoming CMS Workshops include:
- Introduction to 3D Printing
- In person, Library Lab C, Monday Nov. 7, 3-4:30 PM
- Intro to 3D Modeling with TinkerCAD
- In person, Library Lab C, Monday Nov. 14,12:30-2:00 PM
For those looking to increase their knowledge of various areas of STEM, you might consider checking out (literally, or even virtually) some of the materials on STEM in the CSUN Library Catalog using OneSearch. A quick glance at the Subject headings in some of the STEM-related catalog records demonstrates the complexity behind the deceptively simple acronym. There’s:
and so on.
The CSUN University Library is also connected to the Bonita J. Campbell Endowment for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), which “emphasizes promoting and encouraging women to participate in insufficiently represented industries. The Campbell WISE endowment also aims to conserve the evolution and contributions of women in the science and engineering disciplines.”
With all this in mind, it’s worth remembering that November 8th isn’t just STEM Day; in the state of California this year, it’s also Election Day. Just as the various acronyms of STEM, STEAM, etc. indicate that various fields can be related, there is crucial connection between STEM, education, careers, equity, and voting. For those invested in expanding access to STEM education and equity for all, voting on things like School Board members is an imperative. If you are looking for additional resources for voting on or near CSUN, check out these links to find out how to register or find information on ballot initiative and more: