Space in Stem
As Bill Nye says in our cover story, astronomy centers are the gateway to STEM. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, home to Space Camp®, is living proof. “We really do consider our Space Camp program (see note below) a workforce development program because we have so many kids go on to do more math and science classes,” said a spokesperson. In 2013, the Center did a study with the camp’s grads (there are now 700,000 alums):
- 88 percent of camp graduates surveyed said they planned to take more STEM classes after attending camp.
- 71 percent of respondents are now in a career field related to aerospace, technology, energy, defense, or biotechnology.
- 66 percent of those respondents said the camp inspired their decision to enter that STEM field.
Maybe it’s that the STEM skills are clearly applicable, and students realize they’re not just learning math for math’s sake. It could also be the interactive displays and exhibits, including the Apollo 16 capsule and, soon, a replica of the Payload Operations Integration Center, which is in contact with the ISS twenty four hours a day. Whatever they’re doing, it’s working.