By Flora Gonska:
STEMTeen is an awesome organization connecting young people with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and social change opportunities. The STEM fields are often seen as future-oriented education and career paths. More than ever before, young people need a proficient understanding of these subjects in order to pursue meaningful employment. The founders of STEMTeen spoke with me about their organization, creating and sustaining change, and hopes for the future.
FG: Tell us all about you and your organization! We (Manasa Lingireddy and Mishti Dhawan) started STEMTeen in September 2018 because we felt that there are a lot of barriers, like socioeconomic status, within the STEM field that often make STEM inaccessible to youth. When looking for STEM opportunities ourselves to explore the field of technology, we often didn’t apply for programs at prestigious universities because of how expensive they were. So, we founded STEMTeen to provide STEM-based opportunities to youth for free. Through STEMTeen, we host workshops internationally (hands-on STEM workshops, networking events, social change-based leadership trainings), and publish free study-based resources on our blog. STEMTeen has 7+ international chapters in over 5 countries. We are partners with 6 other organizations, including but not limited to Student Art Spaces, Girl Genius Magazine, etc. Through our workshops, articles, and social media campaigns, we have impacted over 1,500+ youths.
Did you know: STEM workers tend to earn more than similarly educated non-STEM workers. (Pew, 2018)
FG: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
We are optimistic about the future because we’ve been seeing an increase in youths taking initiative. There have been so many different youth-led organizations aiming to solve social problems, such as Zero Hour, Climate Strike, etc. By taking initiative, these students are helping create a future full of inclusivity and open mindedness.
FG: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
We think that climate change is definitely one of the biggest issues facing our world right now. It is the biggest threat to our planet and its people, and we need to take action. At STEMTeen, we do our part to combat the climate crisis by educating youths about sustainability through our environmental science-based workshops. We also teach youth skills that will help them become changemakers in their own communities and tackle social issues such as climate change in the future.