You've probably seen or heard the acronym STEM before but do you know where it comes from? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Nearly two decades ago people started to realize that these fields are extremely interconnected.
The first acronym coined for these four related fields was SMET, but let's be honest, that isn't exactly catchy. In 2005, Congress decided that STEM was a much better name for it and suddenly the term, as well as the fields of study it stands for, started to become more and more popular. The number of people seeking advanced degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math was rapidly increasing.
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Trace Dominguez had the opportunity to attend the 2016 White House Science Fair where he saw firsthand some of the amazing things that STEM inspired young people to create.
Three kids from New York City, Amro, Wendy and Stephen, noticed a pretty big problem in the New York subway system and they used STEM to help solve it. Occasionally trash on the subway tracks will cause fires and prevent kids like Amro, Wendy and Stephen from getting to school on time. So, they designed a semi-automatic vacuum that would attach to the flatbed of a work train and pick up all the trash in the tunnels.
STEM has inspired people all over the world to create tangible solutions to everyday problems. Deepika Kurup, who was also at this year's White House Science Fair, has dedicated the past four years to creating clean water technology for underdeveloped countries. Her goal is to find the most efficient, cost-effective way for people to access clean drinking water, and she's had a lot of success so far. She invented a way to purify water using sunlight through a process called photocatalysis and won the '3M Young Scientist Challenge' award for her invention.
Addressing all of the 2016 White House Science Fair participants, President Obama said, "All of you are showing the rest of us that it's never too early in life to make a difference." And with more of today's youth being educated in STEM and interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields than ever before, the future is in good hands.
-- Molly Fosco
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