When the Hamilton Southeastern High School Robotics students hit the links on June 1, they weren’t swing clubs! The student club designed, built and operated a putting robot to raise funds and awareness for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum.
The Robotics Club and Pre-Engineering Program, led by Jeff Wilkins and Joshua Gish, took over the 18th hole at the 14th annual Charity Golf Classic ‘FORE’ Our Schools to ensure future students have access to hands on science programs.
The students, including Sean Cantwell, Charlie Watts, Ethan Higginbotham, and Sabrina Singh, are on to something. The U.S. Department of Commerce projects that STEM jobs will grow by 17% in the next 3 years. This nearly doubles growth estimates of non-STEM jobs. In fact, by 2018, the nation will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs due to lack of qualified workers.
Access to high quality STEM curriculum, such as Project Lead the Way (PTLW), is critical to attract future generations to 21st century careers. Indiana-based research has shown that high school graduates who participated in PLTW were three times more likely top pursue STEM majors. PLTW was also significantly correlated with college persistence.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation Scholarship Chair, Tim McCoy, agrees, “More than half of seniors applying for science based scholarships cited Project Lead the WAy as a major motivation in selecting their career path. It has become clear that students benefit from early and frequent exposure to STEM and I am proub of the Foundation’s work in this area. The only barrier to expanding the program in the district is funding.”