October 1st marks the fifth year of our sponsorship of the Broadcom MASTERS, the nation’s leading science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition for middle school students.
As Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science and the Public prepare for the 30 national finalists to congregate in Silicon Valley for the competition, it is a great time to reflect on how 120 Broadcom MASTERS alumni and over 50 Broadcom MASTERS International delegates are continuing to enhance their mastery of STEM.
The Broadcom MASTERS, an elite corps of winners among 75,000 nominees and 10,000 applicants in the U.S. and 13 international competitions in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South America, South Africa and Australia, have gone on to do incredible things in science and engineering, in high school, university, unique internships, STEM camps and world-renowned competitions.
In 2014 alone, Broadcom MASTERS alumni have risen as champions of the ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair), the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Beating out 1,600 international competitors, Broadcom MASTERS took home the Grand Prize – the coveted “Gordon Moore Award” and two “Best in” STEM categories, along with 33 other awards. They have garnered top honors at other competitions such as the Science Award at the Google Science Fair and the Davidson Institute Fellowship.
Riding the Crest of the STEM Wave
The Broadcom MASTERS program is riding the wave of international awareness about the importance of early STEM education, a movement that has grown among policy-makers, educators and parents.
At the time Broadcom commenced its sponsorship of the MASTERS program, the acronym STEM was an unfamiliar term. Five years later, it is a household word.
Googling STEM yields research studies from every corner of the globe about the importance of early learning in STEM: the scientific method (observation, exploration), mathematics (quantity and numbers, structure, space, and change) and the engineering process (application of science and mathematics to innovate designs and technologies for societal use).
Broadcom Foundation chose to focus on advancing STEM education in middle school because this is an age where a student will decide to elect science and math courses in high school – choices that will make or break STEM college and career choices. President Obama regularly acknowledges the importance of this commitment with his annual invitation to the White House Science Fair and this year, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will be on hand to recognize the importance of the Broadcom MASTERS among middle-schoolers who participate in regional and state competitions.
Measuring Broadcom MASTERS Success
Prestigious awards and new opportunities are only one way to measure the impact of the Broadcom MASTERS. One of our goals for the program is to develop cohorts of peers who will be connected as friends and STEM innovators throughout their lifetimes. Broadcom MASTERS events have facilitated a bond among hundreds of kids together so that they may to learn from each other and inspire others . We hope that these young scientists become the new breed of popular heroes, alongside the ranks of athletes or celebrities.