By Justin Wing
The Future: It’s something humanity has been dreaming about for years since the beginning of the Renaissance to even today. With classic movies like Back To The Future and the 1902 classic A Trip To The Moon, humanity has strived and imagined tons of different adaptations when it comes to the future. However, it is only recently that these dreams have came to life.
STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, is an influential program that has been making waves across the world as an educational program that is not only preparing students for the future, but also preparing the future itself.
Poston Butte’s STEM program is led/directed by Ms. Alise Kraus, a teacher/engineer that has her degree in electrical engineering.
“STEM provides that challenging aspect and rigor that makes us on par with school districts like in Chandler. Also it’s giving our kids the chance to earn scholarships for things that might only be offered at certain school districts.” says Kraus.
That’s basically the foundation of what STEM is all about, but how exactly is STEM helping students tackle the new and ever changing problems they might face in the future? Ms. Kraus says that STEM and any good high school class can simply just help people think about how to tackle certain problems using the power of analysis and the scientific process.
“When you’re going through the scientific process or design process” Says Kraus, “you can look at different stages through analysis and you can look at those and you’ll get a better idea of what’s going on rather than an emotional response.”
Ms. Kraus then continued about the scholarship and educational opportunities STEM offers by saying “STEM offers a wide range of opportunities, because the job market is going to expect over 14 million positions dealing with STEM to open that cannot be filled in the next five years, so there are a wide range of fields for students to pick from, and that really opens up students to have more opportunities to get a scholarship.”
Martina Borquez, a Junior and the president of STEM added onto the list of benefits STEM provides in an interview. Borquez said, “ The STEM program really helps students get a head start on early college, because of how students are required to take all honors and AP classes, and that in turn makes students more educated for the future, which can decrease college time that will not only save money for students, but also time.”
Borquez also added an interesting perspective about the scholarships and educational benefits STEM offers, “Because of the need for STEM jobs right now, students can expect to easily get a job after college, and we expect our graduating class of seniors that are in STEM to have a wide range of scholarship opportunities from schools and companies in order to fill these positions easily.”
Ms. Kayla Kully, the Honors Biology teacher and the Biotechnology teacher for STEM, commented on how she thought STEM was preparing students for the ever changing problems of the future. Ms. Kully said, “We’re preparing them for all sorts of stuff, like for example, I teach kids in my biotechnology class that are gonna have jobs that don’t even exist right now, so in a way we are preparing the future itself. There are kids sitting in my class that will have jobs that won’t even exist and if that’s not the future, then I don’t know what is.”
(Ms. Kully’s Biotechnology class researching through the lens of a microscope. Photo taken by Justin Wing)
Kully continued, “These students we’re teaching are going to be able to harness the new technologies we see today for the benefit of mankind using things like CRISPR and the knowledge they have now to fix many of the problems we see today. We’re also teaching our biotechnology students ethics early on so they could actually formulate good pathways in their brain so that when they’re given that power to harness a “God Complex”, that they use it in a right manner.” When Ms. Kully puts it like that, students in STEM really have the outcome to change our future. It’s like they’re engineering the future with one student at a time.
Martina was asked how she thought STEM was helping our students tackle the new and ever changing problems of the world and she said, “STEM, because it's science, technology, engineering and math, as our world is evolving and technology is becoming more prevalent, we are more prone to using technology and these students are working on something now that we are going to see in the future and they might even be the ones curing new diseases or creating new engineering protocols and all of this other stuff, so they really have a huge impact on our future.”
Martina was also asked what she liked most about STEM and she said her favorite part of stem are the members. “I really like how I can make those tough decisions and report on the good stuff we have to do, and all the good work they do is inspiring to me.” STEM seems like it’s been making a huge impact in some students lives, and because inspiration is a fragile thing and easy to lose, STEM is really helping out our community by inspiring our students to go big and to strive for excellence.
Ms. Kully and Ms. Kraus were asked what their favorite part of stem was and Ms. Kully said, “I honestly love watching the kids start to love what they’re involved in. Watching their faces when we do these labs and the love that they have for science along with how much they care about the class and the fact that they love what I’m teaching them and how they’re going to pursue a career in science is just the best thing in the world to me.”
Ms. Kraus said her favorite part of STEM is engineering and how gets to teach her passion to high school students so that they might become future engineers. “I’m fortunate to be able to teach my passion because I really get to do what I love while passing on my passion to future engineers.” says Kraus.
STEM is really shaping the future from the looks of it, and who knows what they could come up with! Space planes? A cure for Cancer? A way to finally understand how the brain fully works? The possibilities are endless. STEM is not just any program you may find in a school. It’s the future.