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Hank Green’s ‘I Love STEM’ campaign challenges misconceptions about science
‘The scientists I know are rock climbers and musicians and people who are curious about life.’
Hank Green is not much for sleep. The science educator, VidCon founder, vlogger, musician, writer, and producer behind some of YouTube’s most influential education programs, Green continues courting new audiences with his work on Emerson’s “I Love STEM” campaign.
The campaign originally launched in 2015 on the 125th anniversary of the technology and innovation company’s corporate founding, and aired during The Big Bang Theory. Emerson then approached Green about bringing his digital media expertise to the team, and together, have expanded the effort over the past year to include webseries and science innovation centers.
The campaign’s goal is simple: Get people excited and educated about the vast types of careers possible in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
“It’s important to have diversity in STEM in order to have people tackling pressing problems from different perspectives,” Green tells the Daily Dot. “I love showing teens and college students that you don’t have to be a genius or that stereotypical scientist. The scientists I know are rock climbers and musicians and people who are curious about life. The world needs more problem solvers, and they come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors. Tomorrow’s problem solvers are being educated today and STEM education is our future.”
In a recent study, Emerson found that one in three Americans did not attempt careers in STEM because they believed them to be too difficult. Of these participants, 40 percent said that looking back, they would have pursued STEM had they had a better understanding of all the available jobs. That’s where I Love STEM hopes to come in.
The effort is also a passion project for Emerson’s CMO Kathy Button Bell. With I Love STEM, Button Bell sees how pioneers like Green are making STEM subjects interesting and easily digestible for today’s youth—including her own kids.
While his channel the Vlogbrothers, a collaboration with broither John Green, pioneered vlogging on YouTube, it’s Hank’s passion for science education that has influenced his development of channels such as Crash Course and SciShow. Like his work with Emerson, Green has also used his knowledge of YouTube to propel the careers of other passionate creators like Emily Graslie and Dr. Lindsey Doe.
“Hank brings the halo of youth and vitality which is important,” Button Bell says. “I think one of the great things is learning he has figured out how to use video for teaching. I have a 20-year-old son and certainly they all learn very well from video and Hank puts a humor, freshness, and defiance that’s just terrific.”
As YouTube continues to become a primary source of media for today’s youth, projects such as I Love STEM are vital in helping high school and college students make informed decisions about their future prospects. And Green makes a helluva guidance counselor.
Carly Lanning is a journalist who covers social media. Her work has been published by Psychology Today, NBC, Thrillist, and Ms. Magazine.