Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are often thought to be challenging areas of study and career pursuits.
However, the Scientific Research Council (SRC) is seeking to change this narrative through the launch of its ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassadorship Programme’.
Currently, the SRC has 15 candidates who received their ambassadorship certificate and pins at the launch ceremony, held on Thursday, January 28, after completing their training.
The programme will allow industry experts to engage and encourage students to achieve academic and career goals within the STEM field, through consistent mentorship and interactive support.
“We want to expose and motivate students at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels to the opportunities and benefits of pursuing STEM-related careers. This in return will grow and bolster the number of STEM professionals for Future Jamaica,” Coordinator of the SRC’s Science and Technology Education Unit, Kavelle Hylton, tells JIS News.
Though there have been noted improvements in STEM subjects, statistics also show that students still require greater learning support and a positive attitude shift towards these subjects, and the programme seeks to provide this.
Ms. Hylton explains that the programme also aligns with the Government’s push to further develop the STEM industry.
“We recognise that STEM is the future and the demand for STEM jobs will increase in the coming years, so we must encourage youth early and help them to understand what the STEM industry is all about,” she notes.
“The best way to do this is to have persons who are in the field, sharing their knowledge, experiences and inspiring behavioural change. This will provide students with a firsthand experience of what it is like to be a STEM professional and show them that they too can excel in STEM subjects/careers,” Ms. Hylton adds.
She points out that the National Standards Curriculum Framework used in the nation’s schools also promotes the use of STEM through inquiry-based instruction and project-based learning across the subject areas.
“We want to support the school curriculum through this programme. Ambassadors/volunteers will assist their assigned school(s) by sharing industry advice, delivering career talks to students, hosting workshops and providing assistance with science fair projects. They will become resource personnel for educators and students,” Ms. Hylton says.
She emphasises the significance of such a programme on the nation’s development.
“STEM is essential to a country’s ability to respond to the competitive global environment, and continue to create innovations that contribute to quality of life,” she adds.
Ms. Hylton shares that eligible interested persons can apply to become a volunteer STEM Ambassador by contacting the SRC at (876) 927-1771-4; 977-2193/5; 977-1110.
“We are interested in expanding the programme, so we are welcoming applications from STEM professionals who want to make a difference in society,” she says.
The SRC is Jamaica’s principal public sector agency, responsible for the fostering and coordination of scientific research and the promotion and application of its results.
It is the only institution with a mandate, by law, to collect, collate and review information concerning scientific research schemes or programmes relevant to the development of the resources of Jamaica (and) to establish and maintain a scientific information centre for collection and dissemination of scientific and technical information.