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The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM fields are those academic and professional disciplines that fall under the umbrella areas represented by the acronym.
An exhaustive list of STEM disciplines does not exist, but some common disciplines are
Physics Accounting Actuary Chemistry Mathematics Computer Science Biochemistry Robotics Computer Engineering Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Civil Engineering Aerospace engineering Chemical Engineering Astrophysics Astronomy Nanotechnology Nuclear Physics Mathematical Biology Operations Research Neurobiology Biomechanics Bioinformatics Acoustical Engineering Geographic Information Systems Atmospheric Sciences
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the only American federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences, so another way to identify STEM fields is to look at the NSF strategic plan and the fields it supports. It lists its disciplinary program areas as:
(Some cross-cutting programs have been omitted from this listing.)
The Department of Labor identifies fourteen sectors that are "projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries or are being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new sets of skills for workers."
Advanced Manufacturing Automotive Construction Financial Services Geospatial Technology Homeland Security Information Technology Transportation Aerospace Biotechnology Energy Healthcare Hospitality Retail
The Department of Labor's O*NET site, which offers about 1,000 occupational descriptions, allows the database of occupations to be searched by eight STEM disciplines:
Chemistry Computer Science Engineering Environmental Science Geosciences Life Sciences Mathematics Physics/Astronomy
The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes its Occupational Outlook Handbook that describes a very wide variety of jobs and careers, and includes forecasts for job growth in those areas. STEM-related careers are some of the best-paying and have the greatest potential for job growth in the early 21st century.
In US politics
Maintaining a citizenry that is well versed in the STEM fields is a key portion of the public education agenda of the United States of America. Substantial lobbying is underway in Washington, DC to raise awareness of STEM education issues.
American Competitiveness Initiative
In the State of the Union Address on January 31, 2006, United States President George W. Bush announced the American Competitiveness Initiative. Bush proposed the initiative to address shortfalls in federal government support of educational development and progress at all academic levels in the STEM fields. In detail, the initiative called for significant increases in federal funding for advanced R&D programs (including a doubling of federal funding support for advanced research in the physical sciences through DOE) and an increase in U.S. higher education graduates within STEM disciplines.
In 2006, the United States National Academies expressed their concern about the declining state of STEM education in the United States. Its Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy developed a list of 10 actions federal policy makers could take to advance STEM education in the United States to compete successfully in the 21st century. Their top three recommendations were to:
- increase America’s talent pool by improving K-12 science and mathematics education;
- strengthen the skills of teachers through additional training in science, math and technology; and
- enlarge the pipeline of students prepared to enter college and graduate with STEM degrees.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration also has implemented programs and curricula to advance STEM education in order to replenish the pool of scientists, engineers and mathematicians who will lead space exploration in the 21st century.
The NASA Means Business competition, sponsored by the Texas Space Grant Consortium, furthers that goal. College students compete to develop promotional plans to encourage students in middle and high school to study STEM subjects and to inspire professors in STEM fields to involve their students in outreach activities that support STEM education.
The National Science Foundation has numerous programs in STEM education, including some for K-12 students such as the ITEST Program that supports The Global Challenge Award ITEST Program. STEM programs have been implemented in some Arizona schools. They implement higher cognitive skills for students and enable them to inquire and use techniques used by professionals in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical fields.
The STEM Education Coalition
"The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition  works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs." A list of organizations that are part of the STEM Coalition can be found on its homepage. Activity of the STEM Coalition seems to have slowed since September, 2009.
America COMPETES Act of 2007
Template:Empty section The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) became law on August 9, 2007. The act responds to concerns that the United States may not be able to compete economically with other nations in the future due to insufficient investment today in science and technology research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. The America COMPETES Act is intended to increase the nations investment in science and engineering research and in STEM education from kindergarten to graduate school and postdoctoral education.
The act authorizes funding increases for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories, and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science over FY2008-FY2010.
Measures of effectiveness
Robert Gabrys, Director of Education at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, articulated success as increased student achievement, early expression of student interest in STEM subjects, and student preparedness to enter the workforce.
Template:Advert Mentoring is especially important to the STEM fields in order to increase retention of STEM professionals in the United States. MentorNet, a non-profit organization based in Sunnyvale, California, focuses on e-mentoring for women and those underrepresented in the STEM fields. MentorNet has matched over 27,000 mentorship pairs since 1997 with over 150 college, university, corporation, society and professional society organizations. Over 8 months, mentors and protégés are guided through a relationship that takes less than 15 minutes per week in communication. The privacy and security of online conversation enables protégés and mentors to be more open about issues in the workplace.
- Hard and soft science
- NASA RealWorld-InWorld Engineering Design Challenge
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network
- STEM Academy
- NASA Pre-Service Teacher Institute
- STEM Designated Degree Programs [http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm April 2008.
- The National Science Foundation. What We Do.
- U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration by Jobs for the Future. The STEM Workforce Challenge: the Role of the Public Workforce System in a National Solution for a Competitive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce April 2007.
- The STEM Coalition
- PMID 20798284 (PMID 20798284)
- STEM Career - For Those Seeking and Promoting STEM Careers
- STEM Coalition Argues for Federal Support of STEM Education Programs (August 25, 2005)
- STEM Coalition Statement To House & Senate Appriopriators In Support Of STEM Education And NSF Education (May 24, 2005)
- ASME: Position Statements and Model Bill on K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
- Panel on Educating the Knowledge Workforce: Graduate Education and American Competitiveness by Claudia Mitchell-Kernan (March 9, 2005)
- Association for Career and Technical Education articles on STEM education
- [NC State's Chancellor] Oblinger Joins New National Coalition To Attract STEM Students
- House Higher Education Bill Would Promote STEM Careers (American Institute of Physics, August 29, 2005)
- In August 2008 Sir sabrina commented on the lack of STEM and engineering students in the UK in an interview with The Telegraph.
- STEM Education STEM Education Blog - Blog, Resources, Articles, Interviews
- STEM Education Coalition Website
- On Diversity: Standing Our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era (AAAS, October 2005)
- On Diversity: Increasing Doctoral Participation of Underrepresented Minorities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields by Scott A. Bass, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- On Women in STEM Fields: Mary Kirk's book (2009). Gender and Information Technology: Moving Beyond Access to Co-Create Global Partnership. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. ISBN 978-1-59904-786-7
- On Women in STEM Fields: "The Gender Chip Project" A documentary by Helen De Michiel*On Sir James Dyson's article on STEM students in The Telegraph
- Game-based STEM learning The Global Challenge
- The COMETS Initiative: (Career-Oriented Mathematics, Engineering, Technology and Science) The COMETS Initiative
- Sloan Career Cornerstone Center: Sloan Career Cornerstone Center Provides in-depth career information for over 190 fields in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine).
- STEM Careers: STEMCareer.com - Provides a wide variety of information on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) for students, counselors, and teachers.
- Encourage students to enter STEM fields: STEMout
- STEM2Stern: stem2stern.org - US Navy's Program to promote STEM careers.