[Image above] Credit: Laurie Sullivan; Flickr CC BY 2.0

The need for pros in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—also known as STEM professionals—has never been greater. In fact, one million more will be needed in the U.S. alone by 2022, according to the 2012 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Report on Education.

The situation gets even more serious when it comes to in the areas of ceramics and glass engineering. It’s imperative to nearly every industry focused on innovative clean energy solutions to be able to use ceramics and glass to create stronger, lighter, and more durable products.

And if we want to drill down further, inspiring young women to enter STEM fields has never been more important. A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce says that “only one in seven engineers are women” in this country.

But did you know that women who work in STEM-related careers earn about 33% more than women in non-STEM careers, according to that same report?

The demand for qualified STEM professionals is only destined for growth.    

Armed with a lucid understanding of this demand, sisters Lavanya and Melissa Jawaharlal, both mechanical engineers, cofounded STEM Center USA—an organization in Claremont, Calif., whose mission is to “inspire the next generation of STEM leaders around the world with the exciting educational experiences,” according to STEM Center’s website.

Through the program, the sisters “use robotics and other hands-on creative methods to teach science, technology, engineering, and math to more diverse students,” says a recent Berkeley News article.

Even more exciting is that the sisters just secured a $200,000 deal from ABC’s investment reality television show “Shark Tank” that they’ll use to take their revolutionary STEM robotics education concept nationwide. The episode aired on Oct. 30. Check it out!

Credit: Enter the Shark Tank; YouTube

And the Jawaharlal sisters aren’t the only girls making engineering news this week.

Ten-year-old Kaiya Hollister and nine-year-old Jensie Coonradt will compete in the World Robot Olympiad International Championship in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 6, according to a recent article.

They earned their spot in Qatar by securing first place at the World Robot Olympiad National Championship held Sept. 22 at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., as the “only all-girl elementary school team to beat out 24 other teams in their age group,” according to the article.

More than 20,000 teams from 50 countries will participate in the World Robot International Olympiad. The girls have set up a GoFundMe page to help out with some of these expenses to Qatar.

The ACerS community is fully invested in inspiring and recruiting the next generation of STEM professionals—especially in the areas of ceramics and glass engineering.

ACerS President’s Council of Student Advisors (PCSA) has developed materials science demo and lab kits available for purchase that provide an introduction to the basic classes of materials (ceramics, composites, metals, and polymers) through fun and interactive lessons.

And the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation is committed to providing career opportunities for tomorrow’s ceramic and glass pros. Learn more about how CGIF is giving back to the ceramics and glass community and how you can help.