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UMSL To Host Second Annual STEM University For Area Scouts


Perhaps nothing is more popular in education right now than STEM and with good reason. It is estimated that more than 100,000 STEM-related jobs will need to be filled by 2018. But why are degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics lagging? One major factor is the lack of awareness by both students and parents. The Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America is working to change that by offering scores of programs in STEM. Next Saturday, Dec. 28, 625 Scouts ranging from eight to 18 years of age will attend STEM University at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

STEM University, now in its second year, is a full day of classes and activities involving subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scouts sit in on sessions about energy, astronomy, medicine, architecture, electronics, oceanography, weather, and more. The day serves as a great way to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace.

The STEM program at the Greater St. Louis Area Council (GSLAC) has caught the attention and support of many business and community leaders in the region, including Dr. Thomas George, chancellor at UMSL

“There is a great transferability of skills from Scouting to disciplines like in STEM,” said George. “I can remember myself as a Scout whether it was tying knots or gauging things at Scout camp; all of these come together very well in terms of the STEM disciplines. And they reinforce each other.”

John Sondag, president of Missouri AT&T, serves as the council’s STEM chairman and will join Dr. George on UMSL’s campus next weekend. He too has worked closely with GSLAC to form its initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and sees Scouting as a valuable vehicle to deliver these subjects.

“I think Scouting is such a great tool to give boys at a young age the opportunity to take on responsibilities,” Sondag said. “It really trains them to be good leaders and good communicators. I think as they progress through their education and get into the business world, Scouting is such a great developer of young men into great employees and great leaders all over the country and in the corporate community.”