STEM Ads:Inspirational or a Bummer?
I hope that you are all having a wonderful day. I might have been living in a bubble, but I have only recently seen the new advertisement that is pushing STEM.
This ad is sponsored by Verizon, and is aimed at helping kids go into a career that is more science, math and technology based. If you have not seen the ad, follow the link to this article, the ad appears in the middle of the story. This is not the newest ad that I am referring to, but the message is exactly the same. STEM Ad
If you are not familiar with STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. There has been a huge push in the past few years to get children, especially girls, interested in these areas. The hope is for the children to eventually grow up and dedicate their life to these fields. I worked at Girl Scouts several years ago (a paid job, not a volunteer) and their main focus in 2012 was to shift their focus to STEM. In fact, during the interview process, I had to present activity ideas for the girls that centered around STEM. While there is nothing wrong with this, I think there is an issue when you stop encouraging people to find something that they actually want to do even if that is being a dancer, or a neurosurgeon. I do think it is important to give children the opportunity to be exposed to more things like STEM, and other areas to help them find what their passion may be. However, I feel like this Verizon ad is actually a lot more negative than they intended it to be.
This ad shows several different statistics telling us how many professional football players, models, and other mainstream dream jobs are currently working in the Untied States. We then see several people who are at the top of their field telling us that we don’t need another Lebrone James, or another Drew Brees. What we do need more people in STEM aimed jobs. I see this ad as a double edge sword. I understand that the point of this ad is to light a fire so kids watching this will go into STEM related jobs. Or is it? I am actually confused at who this ad is aimed towards. I would assume that it is for older children, and teenagers. However, the style does not match the tradition thing that would catch a child’s eye and looks more adult. The clean, slick, and dark color commercial seems to be more for an adult that it would for a kid that you are trying to catch the attention of. In a way, it is saying, there isn’t enough room for your dream of being a model, or basketball players, so you need to settle for something else. Might as well be in a growing field of STEM. It is actually very discouraging.
What is wrong with wanting to set a goal for yourself? Yes, it is very difficult to get to the level top athletes are, but why give people a reason to not work towards a goal? Real life is hard, and you will fail. You need to be ready for that fact. Even if you put in all of your hard work, and dedication that you have, you may never get where you want to be. That is not just limited to sports and people in pop culture. You can work hard all your life to be a cook, but you may never get to the place where you have your own restaurant. Should you give up because the odds are not in your favor? Why? What is wrong with people working hard at their goals fueled with their hopes and their passion? If people gave up, because the outlook didn’t look good, we wouldn’t have anyone where they are now. That includes doctors, engineers, teachers, coaches, dancers, artists, cowboys, researchers, toy makers, and on and on.
I think the problem here lies within the execution. If you want to give kids the opportunity to excel in STEM, then give them a reason to be passionate about finding out more. Don’t have the basis of your ad telling kids we don’t need another person in a certain field. A very smart kid would pick up on the fact that there are more people in STEM related fields than there are in professional athletics combined. For example, there are more cancer researchers than there are professional tennis players in the United States. Understanding that kind of backfires when you are telling people there are too many people in these careers so you should try another one in the STEM field. STEM fields are pretty full when you look at it that way!
What we need to do is give kids some examples of these fields. We need to show them a reason to be excited enough to find a passion with STEM. However, we should encourage them to find their passion in life, no matter what field it might be in. We also do people a disservice by not teaching them that they may not get what they want in life, but you should never give up your dreams. We, as a society, put so much focus on a career that we identify who we are based off what kind of job we do for a living. We work to live, and it is a bonus if we love our jobs. If we don’t love our jobs, then we should still find a way to have our passions in our lives. For example, you can’t pay the rent being a photographer, but you do it on the weekends, while during the week, you work in an office. You need to have something in your life that makes your heart sing. There is no reason that you can’t work towards your goal, no matter what the odds say. It is important to learn how to work hard, how to set goals, and how to fail. You can’t learn a thing unless you understand how to work, and the lessons that happen when you fail. If you want people to look towards STEM, then give them reasons to be passionate about the field. Don’t give people a reason to back away from their goals because of a very discouraging advertising campaign. Keep fighting for your dreams, but maybe research something that you normally wouldn’t gravitate towards. You might find a new undiscovered love! Don’t limit yourself, the world is yours to discover!
What do you think? Do you think this ad is encouraging, or kind of a bummer? Leave a comment or a like on this post.