One of my core memories about Science Olympiad involves toasted pizza with the perfect amount of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese paired with talkative conversations about how the Thermodynamics test went. Stepping into middle school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future. Pursuing a college education had always been on the table, but it was time that I started exploring the different careers out in the world. That’s when I realized Science Olympiad was the perfect activity that would not only enable me to learn about different sciences but also help me meet the most incredible people I know. Throughout this STEM experience, I not only nurtured my passion for math and physics but also realized that my strengths lay in the STEM field. Being a STEM-geared student from sixth grade, I’ve recognized the vast opportunities a STEM career in the future holds and the reasons why the STEM field would be a great option for students. These reasons include innovation, job security, and development of crucial life skills.
One of the top reasons why pursuing a STEM career is beneficial is because it prioritizes innovation. Twenty years ago, we would’ve never imagined having a smartphone that can connect us to global markets or people from across the world. The growth of technology and instantaneity is a result of STEM advancement. From different medical technology to improved vehicles, the STEM field is constantly evolving and full of various opportunities to grow. With these new demands, there is a need for people who have the technical skills to fulfill these jobs. In fact, STEM prioritizes innovation from the very start of education. According to Geotab, “STEM education encourages a generation of innovators who have the potential to change the world. Individuals are asked to think outside of the box to solve complex world problems by creating actionable solutions.” STEM careers are known to require a lot of education beforehand where one learns to be curious, innovative, and to challenge their preconceived notions about the world around them. We need more innovators in the world who create unique ideas and multi-dimensional solutions in the STEM field. With the great strengths and opportunities, the STEM field holds for self-growth and innovation for the world, it definitely is one to consider when thinking about a career.
On the same note, a STEM career also offers comfortable job security. According to Tyler Kingkade, a writer for the Huffington Post, “Graduates who majored in engineering had a 4.3 percent unemployment rate, while health care majors had a rate of 2.2 percent. The highest unemployment rate was 9.6 percent, for those with social science degrees.” When a student pursues a college education and then a career, they have to think about their success and prosperity in the long run. A STEM career allows a student to have more faith in getting a job out of college and not worry about unemployment. With the STEM field constantly growing and evolving, there is always a demand for careers in a multitude of different fields. As students complete their undergraduate and master’s education, they are able to explore a variety of jobs that demand their skills without worrying about any financial issues that other career path students might have to consider.
Critical Life Skills
Last but not least, a STEM career is worth considering because it helps develop critical life skills. Three of the many skills that STEM careers highlight are communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. First off, when working in STEM classes to learn the key information, the most important behavior that’s emphasized is being able to ask questions. Being able to clearly communicate what one is confused and curious about allows STEM students to be able to communicate in other areas of their lives too. STEM students are able to reflect on their difficulties, contemplate their problem-solving process, and communicate it as well. These are all important traits to possess in our day-to-day lives. In addition to communication, collaboration is a skill that STEM builds heavily. In almost all STEM careers, collaborating with fellow employees, whether that be in a medical office or in a space engineering cubicle, is essential to success. This not only fosters inclusivity but also the ability to hear new, diverse ideas and incorporate them into a multi-dimensional solution. Finally, one of the other skills that STEM careers teach are critical thinking skills. The complex, intricate solutions and ideas that STEM careers require pushes one to “to look for patterns, make predictions, determine if their predictions are correct, and then use data to support their claim” (“How STEM Helps Support Life Skills”). Students learn to make informed, holistic decisions and are able to use their informed decision-making skills in their day-to-day lives.
If you are interested in a STEM career, there are many resources in the greater Ohio area near Cleveland to guide students. For instance, the Cleveland Water and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District provides “students in 6th through 9th grade the opportunity to visit premier institutions, interact with professionals in the field, meet new friends, and work together performing exciting experiments that make science, technology, engineering, and math come alive.” Through a combination of hands-on activities led by STEM professionals, students get a chance to ask questions, explore their curiosities, and continue honing in on daily life skills. Similar to this is the Ace Mentor Program of Cleveland that “exists ‘to engage, excite, and enlighten high school students’ in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries” (ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland). They focus on expert guidance and peer teamwork to enhance students’ skills before they go into industries. Overall, if you are a student considering different careers, STEM fields have clear advantages, and there are a lot of programs that can help you explore STEM if you are still unsure of what it encompasses.
Connect with Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on social media
- Cleveland STEP – Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (neorsd.org)
- “5 Fantastic Reasons to Consider a STEM Career.” Precipart. Last modified May 7, 2019. https://www.precipart.com/blog/5-reasons-stem-career/.
- ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://acecleveland.org/.
- “Cleveland STEP.” Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.neorsd.org/community/educational-resources/cleveland-step/.
- “How STEM Education Drives Business Innovation.” Geotab. Last modified November 1, 2021. https://www.geotab.com/blog/stem-education/.
- “How STEM Helps Support Life Skills.” The Gateway School. Last modified April 20, 2021. https://thegatewayschool.com/how-stem-helps-support-life-skills/.
- Kingkade, Tyler. “Many Recent College Graduates Have Found Jobs.” HuffPost. Last modified July 8, 2014. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/recent-college-graduates-employment_n_5564881.