MINTvernetzt has been a nationwide network for STEM educationalists in Germany for almost a year. In the video call, Dr. Stephanie Kowitz-Harms, head of the nationwide MINT network office, and Magdalena Hein, project manager of zdi.NRW, on nationwide and NRW-wide MINT education and common topics of the two projects.
zdi.NRW and MINTnetworked - Two projects, one mission
“We want to bring together the entire field of extracurricular MINT education and create a nationwide umbrella. We want to network STEM actors, exchange ideas and learn with and from each other," summarizes Dr. Kowitz-Harms summarizes the goals of the MINT network point. The project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aims to bring together the STEM actors in Germany to form a nationwide, lively, diverse and sustainably growing community in order to enable all children and young people to receive a good STEM education.
zdi.NRW in North Rhine-Westphalia has already achieved what MINTvernetzt has been working on across Germany for a year: networking MINT activists. Throughout the state, there are over 47 student laboratories in 70 zdi networks and other extracurricular STEM experience locations that offer workshops, courses and events for young STEM students.
One mission, many topics
In the conversation, one thing above all becomes clear: zdi.NRW and MINTvernetzt will work together in 2022 on topics that affect the MINT community in NRW and throughout Germany.
In Germany there is already a lot of commitment in the MINT area: student research centers, FabLabs, companies, dedicated MINT teachers and much more. Their commitment and achievements should become more visible in order to attract many young people to STEM and to offer them space for research. An important step here is, for example, the recording of zdi.NRW in the state budget and thus long-term financing of the zdi offers.
Another important focus of both initiatives is the empowerment of women and girls in STEM fields. Also this year, zdi.NRW is dedicating itself to this topic, especially in the zdi-Heldinnen October. With a focus on gender awareness, the MINT network point wants to make MINT activists and committed people aware of the special needs of girls and young women.
"Bringing MINT into larger contexts", is how Magdalena Hein describes another interface that zdi would like to tackle together with MINTnetwork. zdi.NRW would like to bring MINT knowledge to the general public under the motto knowledge transfer. Knowledge transfer between the actors and the linking of STEM with socially relevant topics can also generate a greater reach and relevance for STEM topics.