Nicole Barclay is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in the field of Engineering Technology and Construction Management.  She is also a member of Marie’s Kids, a non-profit organization that introduces elementary students to STEAM through interactions with their social and physical environment. She recently shared her STEM journey with the team here at Out Teach.  

In high school, Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics got me engaged in STEM, and especially engineering, because I was able to connect things in everyday life with the content I learned.

It’s this everyday connection to my community that got me excited about pursuing a STEM career after school.  I wanted to see better paved roads, less pollution, and have more reliable water systems. Eventually, I began to focus in on careers in civil engineering and environmental science.

I think oftentimes young women are interested in careers where they can help people, and studying science and engineering can really help a LOT of people, so I tell young women it’s worth pursuing these fields. I also think everybody wants to see examples of people who are excited about their work.  I loved how excited my Chemistry teacher got about science.  Seeing others’ passion for STEM allowed me to see these fields as possible career options.

Young women should study and pursue STEM and STEAM careers because not only does representation matter, gender diversity within STEM fields helps to strengthen solutions to the everyday problems we all face.”

Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.