'Cabinet of Curiosities' Profiles STEM Professionals
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau has launched a new, free website to introduce students to STEM careers. Philippe Cousteau Jr., co-founder and president of EarthEcho International, introduced STEMExplore during this week's National Science Teachers Association annual conference, taking place in Los Angeles. EarthEcho is a nonprofit that develops tools and interactive resources to help young people identify and tackle environmental challenges in their communities.
STEMExplore features the "Cabinet of Curiosities," with links to eight different STEM-related fields, including anthropology, biology, ecology and marine science. Each category offers brief video interviews of professionals in that field. For example, the marine science topic includes profiles of a coral biologist, marine biologists, shark and shellfish biologists and a wetlands ecologist, among others. A unique "communication & policy" segment covers non-research-scientist jobs that "influence policy, laws and regulations," such as program directors, policy directors and research coordinators.
The new site builds on the work already done by EarthEcho Expeditions, a free program for classrooms with lessons and activities tied to exploration of ecological and environmental issues around the world, such as preserving the Florida Everglades and studying changes in ocean health in a time of global warming.
Initial funding for STEMExplore was provided by United Technologies Corp., a company that serves customers in commercial aerospace, defense and building industries. "Kids often wonder how the world works and dream of ways to make it better," said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at UTC, in a press release. "Now, STEMExplore will turn that passion into possibility, with dozens of STEM careers brought to life as scientists speak and engineers inspire."
"At EarthEcho, we work with young people every day who are passionate about making a positive difference in the world," added Cousteau. "One of the main things we hear from educators, counselors and human resource professionals is that they need tools and resources to help prepare these future leaders to achieve their goals. That need is the reason we created STEMExplore for students and educators."
As part of a launch initiative, EarthEcho International will team up with the Nature Conservancy for a live virtual event on April 19 for middle and high schoolers. The program will showcase science and engineering career opportunities. Panelists, including students, will share how they became STEM professionals, what they love about their work, what inspires them, and why diversity in the workforce is so important. Classrooms can register to participate in a question-and-answer segment on a Google Form here.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.