Black employees are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). A Brockton group is working to inspire local students to join the field by participating in Governor Charlie Baker’s first statewide STEM Week.
The Brockton branch of the NAACP will host two events at the Brockton Public Library on Oct. 23 and 24 to connect K-12 students with more than 50 STEM organizations and programs. Both events are free and open to the public at 304 Main St.
Pat Monteith, chair of the branch’s STEM Week Committee, said it’s important to help young people of color learn about STEM education and jobs. About 11 percent of the national workforce is made up of black employees, but they represent only 9 percent of the STEM industry, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center.
“We want to make sure students of color have the same opportunities as everyone else to find out where their place might be in these careers,” Monteith said.
For young students in kindergarten to fifth grade, the Oct. 23 STEM Family Fun Night will take place at the library from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Children and their parents can take part in hands-on activities with local organizations.
Brockton Home Depot will help children make a birdhouse for their backyards. The Brockton Conservation Commission will allow kids to create a “wetland in a pan” that can be recreated at home.
The children’s section at the library will host exhibits on everything from bugs to sea turtles.
Three local authors of children’s books about science will talk to students, including Loic Assobmo, author of “The Adventures of Noah the Nurse Practitioner.”
For students in grades 6 through 12, the Oct. 24 STEM Career Showcase will take place at the library from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
The event is designed to introduce students in middle and high school to STEM education and careers.
Representatives from institutions in the region such as Bridgewater State University and Massasoit Community College will be available to talk to students about summer programs and preparing to apply for a competitive STEM major.
During panels throughout the night, experts from the field will talk to students about careers in health care, technology, and computer science; internships and hands-on learning; and careers in oil, carpentry, and sheet metal.
Bridgewater Makerspace will bring a 3D printer and a virtual reality setup for experimentation.
Each interactive and informative station is intended to introduce students to a new aspect of the STEM field.
“It’s all about opportunity and exposure,” Monteith said. “‘Can I see myself in a position like this?’”
Registration is recommended. To register for the Oct. 24 STEM Career Showcase, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/stem-week. For the Oct. 23 STEM Family Fun Night, call 508-580-7890 ext. 301.