Sometimes it’s easy to take it for granted – you can go to a science museum, you can learn exciting new things. But how important are science museums to learning? How much of an impact can they make in engaging young people in science, and even inspiring their future careers? And, just who is the “you” in those sentences above? The Miami Science Museum works very hard to make sure that everyone gets a chance to learn something and have fun doing it. And it’s especially important to make those who are less represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields feel inspired to join the STEM workforce. To this end, our Senior Vice President of Education Dr. Judy Brown spoke at a Congressional Briefing co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society’s Science and the Congress Project and the Girl Scouts of the USA. Our Museum is well-known for its local and national gender equity efforts, such as the GirlsRISE project, and as the leader of many of those projects, Dr. Brown was well-suited to speak at this Congressional Briefing entitled “STEM Workforce Equality: Engaging Girls and Women,” as well as share knowledge of the science involved in public policy issues and the role that science museums can play in learning.
Attendees at the briefing stated afterward that “I knew we still had a long way to go, but I didn’t know how shocking some of the numbers would be,” “I am curious to see what can be done to change perceptions about girls and the STEM field,” and “I plan to bring information back to my [Congressional] office and to reflect on lessons learned today when planning future programs.” As for our Dr. Brown, she simply stated, “I was delighted to play a role in helping our policy makers understand the many roles science centers play in motivating young people to excel in STEM.”