May 30, 2017 06:59 AM EDT
New York Jets tackle Kelvin Beachum is aware that not everyone can become a pro football player but anyone can pursue a flourishing career in STEM. This is his mission as he goes around schools to encourage kids as they meet him.
Like all other NFL stars, Beachum knows the importance of engaging fans in order to make a connection with them. However, he wants to go beyond the superficial and make a difference in the lives of millions of his fans, especially the students. So when Beachum was not training or playing, people can find him in schools and in classrooms helping students develop a passion for engineering, robotics, coding, and other STEM-related disciplines and activities.
Beachum, who recently signed with the New York Jets, has a degree in economics and a minor in sports management from Southern Methodist University. Prior to the New York Jets, he also played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jets tackle is not alone in his initiative to make STEM more attractive to students. A number of NFL teams have been taking their own initiative and the number is growing. One of the most active among these teams are the San Francisco 49ers, which have launched various STEM programs for students.
The goal is simple - use something students can relate to and utilize it to incite their passion for STEM.
Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEAM Education and the San Francisco 49ers Museum, recounted his own experience saying how he boxed himself with the mindset that he's not good at math. His career, however, involves calculating earned run averages and a number of baseball statistics, which is all about math, yet he only realized it much later.
He said that someone has to tell kids the beauty of STEM by is showing them things like they're doing. That is what he's doing through the STEM education program he hosts for K-8 students.
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