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February 19, 2024

Celebrating Equity in STEM

Did you know that February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science/STEM? This date was designated by the United Nations to promote “full and equal access to and participation in science, technology, and innovation [which is] imperative for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” We believe fostering inclusion in STEM subjects and careers should be a focus all year round!

The author of the book STEM, STEAM, Make, Dream, Chris Emdin, writes, “We have excluded far too many people from the study, opportunity, and yes, joyous rigor of STEM and STEAM.” In addition to the underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM classes and careers, students from historically marginalized communities have also been excluded from high-quality STEM learning experiences.

The importance of a positive STEM identity is an essential thread running through STEM, STEAM, Make, Dream. Numerous studies have shown a connection between a positive STEM identity, and students’ likelihood of pursuing, persevering, and finding success in STEM educational and career opportunities. Yet as Dr. Emdin describes, the elitism, inaccessibility, and inflexibility of STEM culture has prevented many students from seeing themselves in STEM. Let’s work to change that!

Claiming and Cultivating a STEM Identity

You don’t have to wait for the next International Day of Women and Girls in Science/STEM to start working with your students to claim their STEM identity. Our new course, 5272: Cultivating Equity in STEM, uses Emdin’s STEM, STEAM, Make, Dream, and other resources to develop activities that unearth your students’ STEM identity.

Start by reading “Shaping Positive STEM Identity for Student Success,” by Lourdes Norman-McKay. Then, explore the resources below for specific and actionable ideas you can use in the classroom:

We encourage you to design an activity that is meaningful for your class—here are a few examples of our favorite ideas!

  • Develop an activity around one of the STEM children’s books included below
  • Students write positive STEM Mantras, create a word cloud expressing their STEM identity, or have students create a vision board about what STEM means to them
  • Create an activity along the lines of this “STEM By the Numbers” lesson from Learning for Justice
  • Invite students to explore their STEM identities by writing a “Dear Math” (or Physics, Chemistry, etc.) letter, as referenced under the “Dear Math” podcast above
STEM Books, Image Credit, What Do We Do All Day

Children’s Books that Foster Diversity in STEM


Dream big and empower the next generation of diverse STEAM innovators with course 5272: Cultivating Equity in STEM. In this inspiring, actionable course, you’ll teach students how to claim a positive STEM identity, cultivate a sense of belonging in your classroom, and integrate the arts to build STEAM with creativity and maker culture.

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