STEM vs. STEAM / by Tynesia Boyea-Robinson

When I was younger, I worshipped Debbie Allen.  I would sit in front of the TV and watch as she whipped her primadonnas into shape in the TV show Fame.  She was strong, beautiful, powerful, and I would mimic her every move.  While I performed in and directed plays throughout college, I double majored in electrical engineering and computer science.  My technical background has served me well in my career, and I'm grateful I never felt like I had to choose between the arts and sciences. There's a big push these days for STEM education: Science Technology Engineering and Math.  Yet at the US News and World report STEM conference, actor Tim Daly urged for STEAM instead.  He argued that technology is creativity and innovation, which at its core is the Arts.  I couldn't agree more, and while it may seem that Debbie Allen is far removed from engineering, there is an inherent beauty in problem solving.  I think of engineering as the art of applying science in service of solutions.  Putting the "A" in STEM may be just the thing to attract more young people in technical fields.