Tulsa goes Full Steam Ahead to integrate arts into STEM

“In the past 10 years, job positions in science, technology, engineering and math have grown at three times the speed of Non-STEM jobs,” reads the “About Us” page on Full STEAM Ahead’s website.

Full STEAM Ahead is a workshop formed by CodeVA, a non-profit based out of Virginia.

Its purpose is to pique the interests of children in regards to the STEM fields, with an emphasis on girls.

“Our mission is to empower and enrich young women in their pursuit of STEAM,” they declare on Full STEAM’s website.

To achieve this, Full STEAM Ahead integrates the arts, adding an A to STEM: STEAM. The classes are held on the third Saturday of every month at the Gilcrease Museum.

“Each class is a different investigation and exploration of art and science,” reads the description of the event on TU’s events calendar. Such investigation includes “building bridges, art through kinetic motion and chemical reactions,” the page goes on to say.

Full STEAM Ahead seeks to even out the gender gap in the STEM fields.

“Women make up 57 percent of American college graduates, but account for less than 25% of positions held in science, technology, engineering and math,” reads their site.

It goes on to cite studies that detail children of both genders being equally interested in STEM topics until the eighth grade, at which point female interest tapers off due to “outdated stereotypes, unconscious bias, cultural and media portrayals and the subsequent misguided perceptions young women internalize about themselves.”

Full STEAM Ahead posits that the integration of arts increases the critical thinking capacities of the students in the workshop, as well as their generalized scores on standardized tests, such as the ACT and the SAT.

“Through the inclusion of the arts, our students build the toolboxes they need to be the innovators of tomorrow,” their site reads.

It also specifies that the workshops are led by women, given that girls provided with role models in STEM fields have their eyes opened to their own, personal possibilities in those fields.
“We expand participatory pathways for middle school girls by offering choices of hands on workshops led by diverse women working in the fields,” the site reads.

“To remain competitive in global markets, America must expand its workforce of capable STEM professionals,” reads Full STEAM’s site, and through their integration of girls into STEM fields, they’re making good strides to alleviate this problem as well as the gender ratio problem.

TU’s events calendar specifies the workshop as being specifically for students aged eight through twelve. It lasts two hours, 1-3 p.m., for each Saturday it’s hosted. The class is $8 for members, $10 for non-members.

A discrepancy arises when, on the events calendar, the workshop being for girls-only is not specified. It uses the word “children.”

On Full STEAM’s website, however, the program is clearly set up for a female student body.

Neither party was available for comment in order to clear this up, but it can be assumed that the Gilcrease’s hosting of the program is still tailored for girls, in the true spirit of Full STEAM Ahead.

Post Author: Ethan Veenker