Mentoring with Career and STEM Exploration

Mentoring can do more than help students graduate

Stem builds skills our children need for a complex future.  See the video case for the importance of STEM in after-school programming, and the Department of Education's STEM 2026 vision.

Education and Earning Potential

Our students can’t earn if they can’t graduate.  According to Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century (Pathways to Prosperity Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education, February 2011, p. 2), the lifetime earnings gap between those with a high school education and those with a college degree is now estimated to be nearly $1 million. And the differential has been widening. 

Mentoring and STEM Engagement

The best-known landmark study, Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters (Public/Private Ventures 1995), revealed that mentoring helps reduce risky behaviors to keep youth in school, with mentored youth less likely to begin using illegal drugs, use alcohol, hit someone, skip class or school, while being more confident in schoolwork, and more likely to get along better with their families.

Fast forward to the 21st century.  The States of Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas are experimenting with STEM high school academies.  To date, their STEM academy students outperform students from comparison schools, including having a higher attendance rate. (Engaging Students in STEM Education, Science Education International, Vol. 25, Issue 3, 204, 246-258.)  Exposing students to STEM in a mentoring environment gives students an advantage in high school and after graduation.

And in the PEAR Institute (Partnerships in Education and Resilience) study of nearly 1,600 students in grades, 4-12, in 160 after-school programs nationwide, “participation in STEM-focused afterschool programs led to major, positive changes in students’ attitudes toward science (see figure above).”

Power Up

Whether students in Mentors, Inc.'s program visit a veterinary clinic to view an animal operation, visit a global real estate information company to learn how they use drones for gathering data, or go on a college tour, STEM will be part of their mentoring experience (these are actual career technical exploration activities in fall 2017).