This month, NJIT officially commemorated the start of “New Jersey STEM Month” — a celebration supported by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to “highlight the Garden State’s strong presence and accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and math.”
To mark the occasion, NJIT President Joel S. Bloom spoke to state educators at the campus’s Central King Building regarding a number of ongoing STEM-related topics in New Jersey — from teacher recruitment and STEM workforce development and retention, to digital learning and computer science education for young students.
“It is a great time to celebrate STEM, and I would like to thank all the educators here for what you do in making that possible,” said Bloom. “There is great news coming for STEM in New Jersey, and I truly do believe the state’s current administration under the leadership of Governor Murphy will help to drive this area forward in the future.”
In 2018, the month of March was officially expanded from “New Jersey STEM Week” to “New Jersey STEM Month” by way of gubernatorial proclamation from Governor Murphy, and legislative ceremonial resolution by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker of New Jersey’s 16th legislative district.
The March festivities, co-hosted by the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network and Research & Development Council of New Jersey, aim to feature competitive events and educational initiatives, social media engagement from New Jersey’s educators, and special funding toward raising public awareness for STEM-focused education and research.
“We expanded from STEM Week, which started around five years ago, to make it a whole month because there is just so much to enjoy,” said Kim Case, executive director for the Research and Development Council of New Jersey and the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network. “STEM Month is something that is very important to us and we started it to give educators a platform to highlight the work they are doing and anchor that around a month entirely dedicated to STEM.”
According to New Jersey STEM Pathways Network, last year, more than 100 events were held across the state from more than 50 participating organizations in the name of New Jersey STEM Month. More than 20 mini-grant awards of up to $500 were also provided to K-12 schools and colleges, libraries and professional organizations with the purpose of enhancing their STEM events.
This month, more than 200 events are scheduled to feature across the state, and New Jersey STEM Pathways Network estimates that more than 12,000 of the state’s learners will be impacted by 2019 STEM Month mini-grant events alone.
“Our goal was to impact 10,000 learners for New Jersey STEM Month 2019, and our estimation is that we are already planning to impact more than that just through these mini-grants,” said Alex Caronna, an executive with New Jersey STEM Pathways Network. “Public Awareness is such a huge component of what STEM Month is, and we are happy to get the word out to let people know that there are so many amazing events taking place all this month across the state.”
This year's New Jersey STEM Month event at NJIT was in-part brought to campus through outreach initiatives of NJIT's Collaborative for Leadership, Education and Assessment Research (CLEAR). For more about CLEAR and future STEM Month events at NJIT this month, visit: https://csla.njit.edu/clear. For more general information about New Jersey Stem Month, as well as a schedule of statewide events planned throughout March, visit: https://njstempathways.org/stemmonth.