"Scientist" photo

Astronaut Nicole Stott

By now, the acronym STEM is well known. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and is intended to represent an educational focus on recapturing a time in the U.S. where our students ranked at or near the top in those areas worldwide. This in turn correlates to the country's former leadership in STEM-related industries and the national desire to regain it.

It was after the Russian launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 that the federal government first started pouring resources into science and technology, making it a priority to win the ‘Space Race.’ Innovation was the order of the day. NASA was launched (no pun intended) and the National Defense Education Act was passed, initiating the injection of funds for science and technology programs into American schools.

Six decades later, the scientific competitive spirit is still going, and is even more entwined with the international marketplace. Maine has had a government-sponsored STEM strategy plan for some years now, and the University of Southern Maine itself has a learning program called STEM Sisters, whose mission is to connect school-age girls with local women who work in the STEM fields in order to foster tech-related aspirations in the girls.

On Monday, February 12, at 5 p.m., the STEM Sisters host a teen Snack Chat at the Portland Public Library (5 Monument Way). Teens are invited to socialize and ask questions of the day’s guests, local women working in the Information Technology and Molecular Biology fields.

So let your future astronaut or young Marie Curie know, and a word to the wise, the snacks are supposed to be good.

"Snack Chat," with the STEM Sisters | Feb 12, 5 pm | Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Way | 207-871-1700 |  https://www.portlandlibrary.com

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