4 Ways to Be An Awesome STEM Mentor, Even Without Formal STEM Training

By Allie VanNest

Would you believe that young adults with mentors are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college — and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions.

There’s really no question that quality mentoring relationships have an amazing impact on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. And that’s why the littleBits team is so excited to celebrate International Mentoring Day today.

International Mentoring Day is a celebration of the powerful impact that mentoring can have on both kids and adults. While mentoring, itself, is an achievement, becoming a STEM mentor means taking an extra step in helping kids prepare for the future of work. After all, STEM jobs are projected to grow 13 percent by 2027 and kids need the transferable skills required to fill them.

STEM Mentorship: Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’ve been thinking of becoming a STEM mentor — or starting a STEM mentorship program in your school — please find some tips below to help you jump in with both feet.

STEM mentor
Start simple. Kids approach STEM with different levels of knowledge and awareness. Take time to understand what they know, and what they need to know, and personalize your work with them.

Speak the same language. If you don’t know the language, it can be difficult to communicate with someone who speaks a different dialect than you. When mentoring kids in STEM, be sure to introduce them to key STEM vocabulary words to help them become fluent in STEM.

Find and embrace kids’ passions. By the time they graduate high school, only 36 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls express interest in pursuing STEM careers. These numbers are extremely low, but especially so for girls. One way to get — and keep — kids’ attention on STEM is to make it accessible to them by relating it to topics of interest. For example, STEM is just as much coding a robot as it is designing an interactive dress. Find out what your mentees enjoy and lean into it to keep them engaged and excited.

You don’t need a STEM background to be a STEM mentor. Kids don’t nееd to dо mаѕѕivе ѕсiеnсе fair рrоjесtѕ аt home еvеrу night, оr bе an expert in computer coding to be effective STEM learners. The most impactful way that parents and teachers can work together help them to become interested in STEM from a young age is to connect STEM topics to kids’ real world experiences — in and out of school.

Interested in more tips and data on STEM mentorship in today’s workforce? Download STEM at Work: Mentorship As a Way to Promote Gender Inclusiveness .

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