Students often think that science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) education is overwhelming. Common concerns involve everything from “classes for smart people” to “women don’t do that”. However, one needs to take a closer look at STEM education and career options before crossing them off the list.
STEM classes often require hard work, not native genius. Dr Armineh Noravian, BSEE, MSE, MA, Ed.D. and professor of engineering, noted, “Students who get Cs in their courses often make the best engineers.” Dianna Davis, CAC’s STEM Academic Advisor at the Signal Peak Campus, said, “These areas are more often about persistence and courage than intelligence. Davis also suggested that students might need to take particularly difficult classes more than once. Students intimidated by math lessons may want to turn to areas that don’t have heavy math requirements, like software development or coding.
A wide variety of people work in STEM jobs, but women, Hispanics, and African Americans remain under-represented in most of these fields. Women are overrepresented in healthcare but underrepresented in engineering. African Americans and Hispanics are under-represented in all STEM fields. The Pew Research Center conducted a study on the distribution of jobs in STEM fields by race and gender. Those data shows that while some progress has been made, there is still work to be done on both education and workforce equality for STEM. Students who seek to break down gender or racial barriers have a lot to do in these areas.
As a result, STEM fields often need more minority applicants. Dr Noravian said: “Diversity brings different perspectives. She also said that these areas suffer from not having these diverse perspectives. Indeed, certain efforts are specifically aimed at encouraging young people to embark on these careers. Andres Gonzalez, professor of computer science at the CAC, mentioned Girls who code and Raspberry pie as two foundations working to bring more minorities into the fields of information technology.
STEM education also offers several benefits after graduation. Dr Judith Ramaley wrote to one of his colleagues that it would be “impossible to make wise personal decisions, exercise good citizenship or compete in an increasingly global economy without knowledge of science and the ability to apply [it] thoughtfully and appropriately. Dr Noravian and Gonzalez also mentioned that STEM fields work well for people planning a family, as they tend to be stable work that usually doesn’t require travel.
According to National Science Foundation, STEM fields generally pay well and have jobs available. In 2019, unemployment in the STEM workforce was 2%, lower than in the non-STEM population at 4%. This pattern persists during the Covid-19 pandemic. Median earnings for STEM fields are better than others at $ 55,000 in 2019, compared to $ 33,000 for non-STEM fields in the same year. These figures are valid even for those without a baccalaureate.
Not all STEM fields require a four-year degree. In some areas, an associate’s degree works very well, but the individual areas vary. Carefully consider your needs as a student, especially if you are planning to move on to college for a degree. Some STEM degrees require courses that are best taken right before graduation, and taking those courses early can mean having to repeat them. A session with a guidance counselor is strongly recommended for these reasons.
For anyone considering a change of major, the CAC offers a free workshop for students called The inventory of strong interests to help determine the type of education they should pursue. These workshops are scheduled regularly, but places may be limited, so register early. Students can also develop their own academic path with My majors, which can help define their career options. If this is your first time seeing a guidance counselor, Davis advised, “It helps if the student has associated material like transcripts and test results in addition to an idea of what they want. to do. “
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