Do you ever feel like all the words and terms and acronyms of the STEM world are kind of confusing? Us too! That’s why we’ve provided this glossary to help you out.


STEM Education

The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM education should approach these subjects in an integrated fashion that helps students apply content knowledge to real world problems and develop 21st Century Skills.

21st Century Skills

21st century skills refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, and work habits that help drive success in education and the modern workplace. 21st century skills are applicable across content areas and are often grouped as the 4 C’s: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. 

Education Terms

Bachelor's Degree

A four-year undergraduate degree. Historically, the term “college degree” meant a bachelor’s or traditional four-year degree. It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete your bachelor’s degree.

Master's Degree

A degree that is given to a student by a college or university usually after one or two years of additional study following a bachelor’s degree. These degrees tend to be more specified than Bachelors’ degrees.


A globally recognized postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities and higher education institutions to a candidate who has submitted a thesis or dissertation, based on extensive and original research in their chosen field. The specificities of PhD degrees vary depending on where you are and what subject you’re studying.

Diversity and Equity Terms


Having a variety of racial, sexual, gender, class, religious, ethnic, abled, and other social identities represented in a space, community, institution, or society.


The quality of being fair and impartial. Equity is not the same as equality. True equity implies that an individual may need to experience or receive something different (not equal) in order to maintain fairness and access. For example, a person with a wheelchair may need access to an elevator while others would not.


Referring to the sexes male and female, especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.


Also known in some regions as First peoples, First Nations, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples or autochthonous peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently.


A lens through which you can see where the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender apply to a person or group. When a person is part of more than one minority group (ex. Black women), there are overlapping systems of discrimination or disadvantage.


A person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina). Sometimes also referred to as Hispanic.


The ability to move between different levels in society or employment.


A grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society (ex. white, Black, Latinx, Asian, etc).


The process through which we become accustomed to societal norms, i.e. rules about appropriate or acceptable social identities, beliefs and behaviors. We are bombarded by these messages even before we are born.


An over-generalized belief about a particular category of people, like race or gender.


The practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly.


A woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and non-binary women).