Annual STEM week renamed STEAM to include the arts


Carly Heltzel

MVHS has added art to the mix of careers explored during STEAM week. According to Assistant Principal and STEAM week organizer Teri Faught, the change from “STEM” to “STEAM” came after years of the art department advocating for the change.

STEAM Week will take place the week of Oct. 22. The original acronym science, technology, engineering, and math will remain a focus; however, activities will also include art demonstrations and fractals on Wednesday.

In addition Antonia Depena Tretter, a director of education at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, is scheduled to speak on Friday in the theater as part of the STEAM week speaker series.

“For [those] who are still unsure of what career path they want to pursue, just having a presentation about where their path in the arts could go would definitely be beneficial to them,” said Sarah Haslem, co-president of National Art Honors Society.

In past years, a volunteer-based committee organized STEM Week activities. However, a shift toward each department organizing their respective activities was a catalyst for the change from STEM to STEAM.

The school partly chose to include art this year to acknowledge that creative skills developed in the performing and visual arts can benefit students no matter their career.

I recognize that it is a small start but I’m really excited that they’re moving in this direction

“If we inspire people to go into the arts, hands down awesome, but I also really want people to walk away understanding that having skills in art and that creative element that you can really pick up through taking art is extremely important in so many careers,” Faught said.

According to Art Department Coordinator James Levett, the art department hopes to include performing arts and more in future years.

“If you look at what comes out of STEM, there has been an art component that has been taken for granted, so finally we’ve been recognized this year,” Levett said.

Lynae Deklerk, co-president of National Art Honors Society, said that people currently view careers in the arts as unrealistic, competitive and low income, and hopes the change will help showcase the growing opportunities in creative industries.

“I recognize that it is a small start,” Deklerk said, “but I’m really excited that they’re moving in this direction, and now that they’ve added an ‘A’ in STEAM, that it will continue to grow.”

  • Photo courtesy of the Pasadena Public Library