[Image above] Credit: National Science Foundation

There is good news for the future of science.

Employment in STEM jobs is continuing to increase. In a recent U.S. Department of Commerce report titled, “STEM Jobs: 2017 Update,” STEM occupations are predicted to increase by 8.9% from 2014 to 2024. Non-STEM jobs are only expected to grow by 6.4%.

Emsi reports that the number of STEM majors in bachelor’s degree (and higher) programs is also increasing. Between 2015 and 2016, more than a half million (550,000) students graduated with STEM degrees—a 43% increase from between 2009 and 2010 that saw 388,000 students graduate with STEM degrees.

And we have at least 140 U.S. teachers and mentors to thank for these increasing numbers.

The White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP), along with the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently presented more than 140 teachers, mentors, and organizations with awards for teaching or mentoring excellence in science, math, or engineering.

White House officials presented kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). They also presented mentors with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

The PAEMST is presented to teachers in the U.S. who have developed high-quality educational programs that enhance student learning, according to the website.

The PAESMEM is presented to individuals and organizations who have mentored and shared their knowledge with STEM students through formal mentoring programs or other activities designed to encourage and sustain student interest in STEM subjects.

“On behalf of the White House I am honored to express the Nation’s gratitude for the tireless dedication that these men and women bring to educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians,” deputy assistant to the president for technology policy Michael Kratsios proclaims in an NSF news release. “Each day more and more jobs require a strong foundation in STEM education, so the work that you do as teachers and mentors helps ensure that all students can have access to limitless opportunities and the brightest of futures.”

Award recipients visited Washington D.C. last week, where each received a presidential citation plus $10,000 from the NSF.

Congratulations to the award recipients for all you do to engage the next generation of STEM students! Check out the complete list of PAEMST and PAESMEM award recipients at this link.

Do you want to play a part in the future of STEM programs? Donate a Materials Science Classroom Kit to a science curriculum in your local area. The kits are a fun tool to get students excited about science. They consist of hands-on lessons and labs that teachers can demonstrate to students right in the classroom. The kits also include lesson plans for teachers plus the book “The Magic of Ceramics” by David Richerson. To learn more about how to donate a kit, visit this link.

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