Letter from TAME Board Chair Laura Bosworth
Do you have a favorite movie or TV show about engineers? When The Big Bang Theory first came on the air, for instance, my colleagues and I were thrilled. We may have balked a little at the stereotype of the nerdy scientist, but at least it was finally cool to be nerdy! I’ve always enjoyed Apollo 13 for its portrayal of the intense teamwork between the astronauts and the ground team. But this movie also has its drawbacks, namely, an almost total lack of diversity. Granted, Apollo 13 took place in 1970, but women and minorities were playing significant roles at NASA well before then (as Hidden Figures, another Hollywood movie, showed).
Fortunately, TAME doesn’t need to depend on Hollywood to get kids excited about STEM. We have the Trailblazers for that! Thanks to our strong network of sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and tireless staff, we are able to bring our free, high-quality, teaching-aligned STEM programs to more and more communities across Texas.
Over the past year, we’ve done some amazing optimization to TAME programs. For instance, this was our first year offering the State STEM Competitions at an overnight camp. The feedback was tremendously positive, both in terms of student experience and in terms of operation. Another area of continuous improvement is in our messaging. How do we encourage students – especially those who aren’t usually seen as “science types” – in STEM careers?
Research from the National Academy of Science shows that messaging really does make a difference. For instance, while some girls (myself included) respond to a “gears and cogs” view of engineering, many others don’t. Instead, they respond strongly to the idea that through engineering or another STEM field, they can make a positive difference in the world.
In 2019, the TAME Board will begin another round of strategic planning to lay out our vision for the next five years. It’s a great time to be involved with TAME, and I look forward to exploring how we can continue to improve. If you’re a TAME supporter, I want to thank you for your continued support. If you’re not, I hope you’ll consider joining us this year. Together, we can help Texas kids see themselves in the STEM picture – even if they’re not seeing themselves on screen.
Chair, TAME Board of Directors, 2017-present
Board Member, 2009-present
Building a Diverse STEM Workforce
The Board of Directors takes considerable pride in the relatively modest budgets by which its corporate purposes have been advanced. It has concluded that the problem TAME, Inc., is addressing is not one to be solved primarily by money, but rather by energizing local interests, encouraging non-traditional forms of cooperation and the marshaling of local resources.
TAME Annual Report, 1977