STEM Careers, Pathways, Choices . . . a couple things to consider
The Engineer in the Box Spring Short version: knowing the police were looking for him, a young, 20-something male realized he needed to hide. He constructed a secure and comfortable hiding spot inside a box spring mattress. He was ultimately located. Absurd? Maybe, but let’s break this down. Critical thinking: check. Problem identified: check. Solution: check. We'llstop here and call his solution a prototype or proof-of-concept that didn’t quite work as he’d planned. Design failure is a scenario all too familiar to engineers everywhere, and terms like prototype design, iterations, and tweaks help describe the process.
Now let’s look at Palmer Lucky, inventor of Oculus VR / Oculus Rift, virtual reality gaming. Home-schooled by his MOM, Palmer Lucky started taking community college courses at age 14 (or 15). He, too, built prototypes, experimented with electronics, and found paying work to support his genius. Oculus VR was purchased by Facebook for 2 billion dollars. Now in his 20s, he continues to work in virtual reality technology. Which one of these young men grew up in rural America? If you guessed our box spring engineer you are correct. A young, rural student whose engineering instincts and mechanical aptitude were probably not identified in school. Maybe he didn’t have the stable home life of Palmer Lucky (who grew up in Long Beach, CA), maybe he didn’t have role models or mentors, and given the timeline, STEM programs hadn't reached his area.
Technology does solve problems; we believe this to be self-evident. Online learning, blended learning can reach into the cornfields and pastures of this country, just like digital learning is impacting urban schools today. Both Scouting and 4H are reaching as far as resources can take them to get STEM into the hands of their constituencies. Internet access for all, computer science access for all must be a priority. We cannot afford to lose critical thinkers or overlook our skilled students; we must identify, support, and nurture. Over the years I have witnessed the “Blockbuster” mentality in classrooms too many times. Teachers want to teach the students who will become leaders in their fields. It's up to Moms and Dads to aid and encourage STEM careers.
In 2020 - 26 BILLION connected devices will operate around the world. Who will make sure these work? 24/7? And work fast.
Only the light switch is connected here, circa 1960, typing.
Why Study STEM - Answers for Moms & Dads
You can ...
Have your pick of awesome careers that are interesting, pay well to really well, and have a "life worth living." All careers today require some knowledge of digital skills, computer science, and a comfort level with technology in general. Nurses and EMTs, architects, mechanics, food service, agriculture, fishing - aqua-farming, and military-defense to name a few. There's no escaping STEM today.
Pick your place and environment. Remote, urban, space, underwater, on the water, in the air. The choice is yours.
Save the world, solve health issues, your STEM passion takes you further.
Enjoy a higher starting salary, get a micro degree without student debt, learn to code. Possibilities are limited only by imagination.
- Virtual Career Network is a solid job hub, a skills-based site underwritten by the U.S. Department of Labor with additional support from AACC. This site helps visitor understand earning potential in the areas below, as well as training information, community colleges, salary information, job search, and a "Tools" link. Unlike some of the "Job" centers, your inbox won't be flooded. VCN Careers are divided into the following:
Healthcare - one of the fastest growing fields, 7 million new jobs in 2016
Green - renewable energy, water, land, waste management, green buildings
Transit - the video is really worth watching, sharing with a class or student
- STEM JOBS is another great starting point with plenty of assistance for job seekers, students, educators, employers. We especially like their What STEM Type are You Quiz. Interactive and fun, it's a helpful tool for students and parents to understand the ever-growing STEM landscape. - The Entertainment Industry employs thousands of people besides actors, directors, and stunt people. Check out EntertainmentCareers.NET to see what's available, including Internships. - Interested in Cartoons, animation, and Drawing? Cartoon Brew deserves a visit.