Many communities around the world do not have access to STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). But astronomy crosses the boundaries of all societies and touches on almost all STEM fields. Astronomy has been a part of every human culture. It is a universal interest with volunteer educators everywhere, and its “lab” – the sky – is accessible to everyone. This makes astronomy unique among the sciences.
Astronomy exposes students to many STEM fields including physics, chemistry, astrobiology and more. Students who learn astronomy use technology (computers and data analysis), engineering (telescope design and optics), and mathematics to conduct their studies. This is why astronomy is a gateway to STEM.
Astronomy for Equity (A4E) promotes STEM education in underserved communities by supporting new and existing astronomy programs. Students in marginalized societies are often discouraged by a lack of opportunities and role models in STEM. Volunteer programs are often temporary, lacking follow-up.
A4E’s mission is to make STEM education a constant in students’ lives. A4E’s centralized program guides grassroots activism by empowering local leaders and stakeholders. The efforts of motivated, empowered volunteers provide science awareness, education, and support that is tailored to local needs.
The potential of passionate astronomy enthusiasts worldwide has been shown through years of programs. That passion is what transforms a program into a movement. Astronomy for Equity is that movement.