Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Turner Vasil, Staff Writer
Many students worry about finding a job. Every day there are stories about job markets shrinking, corporations going bankrupt and large groups of employees being laid off. This leaves students, both college and high school, unsure of their futures.
STEMCareer.com estimates that, over the next ten years, our country’s demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals will increase four times faster than other fields. Studies show that more young students would be interested in STEM subjects if they had enthusiastic teachers and mentors.
The Da Vinci Science Center, located at 3145 Hamilton Boulevard Bypass in Allentown, plans to start a mentoring
program for the youth of Allentown. This program, called MentorAllentown, aims to motivate children to complete high school and pursue college, interest them in STEM fields through learning activities, and prepare them to enter the job force.
MentorAllentown’s information packet tells readers that more than a third of Allentown students do not complete high school, and that almost 90% are low-income.
The literature distributed by the Center gives the statistic that, “Children from higher income families receive an investment of approximately $7,500 more in enrichment activities than children of lower income families.”
Darryl Alexander, the Outreach Coordinator for the Mentor Allentown Coalition, said one of the programs main goals was “to make Lehigh Valley a better place [and] break the poverty cycle” by creating equal educational opportunities for all Allentown children.
Fourth-year Chemistry major Amanda Seyferhelt had this to say about the program: “I don’t really see it as necessary or unnecessary… if a child doesn’t enjoy those areas the program will have a slim chance of changing their minds.”
However, Dr. John Cigliano, Ph.D., associate biology professor at Cedar Crest, says, “The U.S. is lagging behind other industrialized nations…and this is affecting our economy and our ability to remain a global leader in science and technology.”
According to the Da Vinci Center, he is correct. Our country’s supply of STEM professionals will not be able to meet the rising demand over the next decade.
Two-thirds of teenagers say they do not consider STEM fields because they do not know anyone currently in those fields. MentorAllentown, once up and running, will pair Allentown School District students with college students in the area to mentor them and give them a contact currently involved in STEM.