Schoolkids standing in a row

Taylor Richardson, attending “Hidden Figures” premiere at the White House 2016 Dedicated to the past Hidden Figures that allowed girls and boys to embrace STEM – STEAM – STREAM and grasp new opportunities to fulfill dreams from the depths of the sea to the height of the clouds to the deepest of space.

The movie ”Hidden Figures” 2016 is inspiring thousands of girls and women to eliminate the fear of learning, to understand the fun of exploration, embrace artistic creativity, develop themselves as “thought leaders” and “smart creatives.” To understand that it is ok to be smart, gifted, talented and special. The perceived glass ceiling of career limitations has been shattered by the flames of curiosity to explore not just the limitations of earth’s atmosphere and her seas but has moved into the airless, weightless and limitless expanse of space and time.

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The emergence of STEM – Science Technology Engineering Math is looking good to girls and women as careers explode in diversity in the embracing of girls and women into areas at one time exclusively open to men, white men. The irony of “Hidden Figures” is that research has proven that women are more analytical and able to comprehend and apply mathematics skills faster than men.

They are more detailed oriented and specific about applying learning to real world situations. African-Americans and others of color have been involved with most if not all space agencies, this involvement is not just as custodians, cooks, maintenance and other support personnel. These positions are important, they help the people do the jobs they to do and service this country.

The other aspect is not just as service personnel, but the intellectual abilities that allow for NASA and other agencies to meet with success and build a legacy through the intelligence of everyone that contributes. People of color have always and will continue to contribute, they have not received the recognition they deserve.

STEM / STEAM are the hottest sectors in the U.S. job market and has grown to international levels. Even before it became a commonly used word the elements of STEM have been important. Because of movies like “Hidden Figures” and others doors of imagination and dreams are growing for girls, women, boys and men of color and culture.

STEM does not start in high school or higher education, it starts in elementary education labs, classrooms and weekend competitions and events. It starts in after school programs and new curriculum’s that teachers have a passion for creating new ways to engage with students who were once thought slow or different, but were actually higher order and critical thinkers, just bored with cookie cutter teaching strategies dated from the 1950s and 1970s. Today’s students need to be engaged and active learners.

When I taught STEAM at an elementary Magnet it is important that learning is relevant and students can apply their past learning to new learning and integrate it into everyday life. If students are not engaged mentally, actively involved, have hands-on activities and allowed to explore environments there are lost opportunities to build the excitement to allow future scientists, mathematicians, engineers, innovators and even technical expertise in computers and robotics.

Many people still do not realize that STEAM and STEM run the U.S. economy, look at the growth of careers that not only require a college degree but certifications. “The future of the economy is in STEM,” says James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C. Even President and Mrs. Obama have encouraged STEM education through grants and national programs.

Parents must understand as well that their children’s employment are influenced by STEM. Employment in occupations related to STEM science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is projected to grow to more than 9 million jobs by 2022 nationally and internationally.

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Children now may now have to find jobs in the U.S. and have to travel overseas, they must be prepared to keep this nation competitive. U.S. relationships with the world are important because if the U.S. does not have friendly relationships globally then research opportunities, international collaborations, joint projects and even educational research will be in jeopardy.

We cannot afford to be secluded because the world is diversified in economic and social diversity. Students should be asking what their STEM futures are and how is their current educational instruction preparing them for the future? Parents should be asking are their children being prepared to be employed or set up to be under or un – employed.

Students should be asking what their STEM futures are and how is their current educational instruction preparing them for the future? Parents should be asking are their children being prepared to be employed or set up to be under or un – employed.

Events like the first Lego League by Mark Douglas McCombs are foundations to engage youth, teens and young adults into robotics, programming, design, innovation and as developers. There are hundreds if not thousands of “Hidden Figures” in homes, schools, communities, cities and this nation.

They should be encouraged, mentored and provided role models to spread their wings to take the flight to be un-hidden.

Parents your child may be the scientist to discover a cure for cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Uncover the hidden talent in your child by supporting their education, their thirst for exploration and their gifted abilities.

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William Jackson
William Jackson is a father to two college students, educator over 25 years, blogger, speaker, presenter and community activist. Employed with Duval County Public Schools and Edward Waters College. Born and raised Philadelphia, Pa. Content Creator, Innovator, Blogger, Educator, Influencer Graduate for South Carolina State College Bachelors Webster University Masters.