Emily Peite, STEM Super Youth Advocate: Tri-Cities
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics became the focus of my education after choosing to attend Delta STEM High School.
There I was challenged to think differently and given innovative opportunities to explore concepts in depth. Attending a STEM high school revealed to me all that educational experiences can be for students. I envisioned a future where learning was collaborative and fostered curiosity.
With the goal of providing students with engaging activities to help them discover the opportunities STEM offers, I became a student ambassador. Over the course of my high school career I attended more than one hundred STEM events in the community, engaging with thousands of local students and their families. Through the application of STEM concepts, such as critical thinking, kinesthetic learning, problem solving, and collaboration, I designed activities that enabled students to experience STEM education in just 15 minutes or less. Seeing the mesmerized faces of local students conquering STEM challenges is always gratifying. I loved engaging students in activities that encouraged them to think differently about the world surrounding us but was alarmed by just how many students were unaware of STEM education.
Recognizing that not all students had the same empowering, exceptional, educational experiences as I did left me feeling that the education system was failing. Not because there aren’t passionate educators and advocates in the world making their voices heard, but because the traditional education system itself is outdated and does not adequately prepare students for what comes next. This revelation led me to my mission – to make education relevant for all students, no matter what their future goals may be. It inspired me to become an educator and instill a love and passion for STEM education in the hearts of my own students.
I took every opportunity to engage with my community, including discussing the importance of innovative STEM learning for local students with former Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn. My senior year of high school, I was selected as part of the core planning team for Richland’s first STEAM middle school.
Working with passionate educators, community members, and students on this team reaffirmed my dedication to student advocacy and was the final nudge I needed to commit to a career as an educator. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Washington State University Tri-Cities. As a teacher and STEM advocate, I will possess the unique opportunity to impart a love for STEM to my own students. Though my own classroom is still a few years away, my impact on local students begins now.
In order to ensure that STEM education is accessible, I plan to establish an after-school program for local students. There, students will engage in projects that have the disciplines of STEM at the core of their creation. In the future, I hope the program can be adopted by other local schools; ensuring all students have access to STEM activities. As an ambassador of STEM education, I identify with the pressing need in our community for change, and will focus my efforts on preparing our community for the future, which will certainly entail a great deal of STEM! That’s why I’m a STEM Super Youth Advocate.