term used to group together these academic disciplines. This term is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculumchoices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development. It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns and imigration policy.
The acronym came into common use shortly after an interagency meeting on science education held at the US National Science Foundation[when?] chaired by the then NSF director Rita Colwell. A director from the Office of Science division of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, Peter Faletra, suggested the change from the older acronym METS to STEM. Colwell, expressing some dislike for the older acronym, responded by suggesting NSF institute the change. However, the acronym STEM predates NSF and likely traces it’s origin to Charles Vela, the founder and director of the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education (CAHSEE). In the early 1990’s CAHSEE started a summer program for talented under-represented students in the Washington, DC area called the STEM Institute. Based on the program’s recognized success and his expertise in STEM education, Charles Vela was asked to serve on numerous NSF and Congressional panels in science, mathematics and engineering education; it is through this manner that NSF was first introduced to the acronym STEM. One of the first NSF projects to use the acronymwas STEMTEC, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Teacher Education Collaborative at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which was founded in 1998.