STEF not STEM: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is an acronym in need of updating.
STEF (Science, Technology, Engineering and Finance) is the evolutionary next step to greater social and economic equality.
For nearly two decades, STEM as a curriculum-based idea has shaped funding and education of students in four specific areas – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Several states and dozens of corporations, including Disney, have legislated and donated billions of dollars to marginalized communities to promote STEM as a means of boosting interest in the interconnected disciplines. However, what disparate communities lack is neither curiosity or capability, but control.
Math is implicit as a subject within science, technology and engineering and therefore can be eliminated as a space holder in the acronym. Arguably it must be replaced by finance and the depth of understanding of how ideas become reality, are taken to scale and produce wealth.
Finance as a vital study boosts resources, savings, and investment in housing, employment, education, and health. Teaching young people entrepreneurship and how to negotiate their value is the epitome of a self-sustaining community and economic strength. For example, program curricula where young inventors, scientists, and innovators learn to focus on coding, environmental science and digital literacy as well as models of return on investment, quantitative liquidity, and human capital asset models.
Finance anchors science, technology and engineering in three key aspects.
1. Monetization of ideas. Having an idea is one thing, being able to benefit financially from it is yet another. Teaching students the importance of how ideas get funded either through investment, sales, or credit is important to their understanding of how ideas move from being possible to being profitable.
2. Efficiency of markets. Testing the viability of ideas to either make money or make a difference in markets where there is fair access to correct and uniform information is an essential lesson for everyone, especially young people in marginalized communities.
3. Autonomy of equity. Ownership of ideas and the businesses they create has always been a racially and brutally charged battle ground. Oppressed and poor people continue to pay tremendous mental, spiritual, and often physical costs in efforts to keep the rights, patents and licenses of their inventions. However, ownership offers a level of freedom to extend opportunities and distribute profits in more effective and sustainable ways.
At Capgenus, we are working to continue encouraging students at every level to explore science, technology and engineering. We are also working towards classroom instruction tools and resources which connect innovations to investment.