Posts Tagged ‘stem’

Resource List for Career Exploration

Friday, January 13th, 2012

How do you get high school students interested in a career in science? It all starts with exposure and image. Traditionally, high school is a time when realistic considerations of one’s future first come into play and related choices are made. Developmentally, the cognitive skills of these students are at an intersection where their current abilities, their sense of achievement and their thoughts about their future all come together. If they do not feel immediately successful at a task, they will often quit or move on to something else. Students at this level are busy establishing their identities, integrating the likes and dislikes of others, and weighing the relevance of outside influences. Ultimately, when they emerge from adolescence, they will be asked to make choices for their futures (e.g., choose a college and declare a major or enter the workforce). It is for this reason that it is so important to provide them with as much information about different job opportunities and exposure to careers in the STEM fields as possible. ATETV is one resource for this. Others include:

Career Cornerstone
The Sloan Career Cornerstone website provides some career information, profiles, video clips and advice on educational pathways to specific STEM Careers.

Careers in Welding
An American Welding Society and National Center for Welding Education & Training (Weld-Ed) web portal that profiles careers, offers fun facts and other information about welding, profiles companies and showcases videos.

Discover Engineering
From the site:”Engineering is not science. Engineers generally don’t “do” science. Science is about discovering the natural. Engineering is creating the artificial.” Tune in to the Discover Engineering Web site to learn what engineering is, read about various careers, try cool engineering activities and watch informational videos.

Dream It. Do It.
Dream It. Do It. is a nationwide effort supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, employers within the manufacturing economy and other groups around the country. Their Web-site offers a career toolkit and videos related to high-tech manufacturing jobs.

Engineer Girl
Aimed primarily at middle school girls, the Engineer Girl Web-site has profiles of women in engineering, discusses what classes should be taken in high school and explores engineering careers for women.

Engineer Your Life
The sister site to Engineer Girl, this site is a guide to engineering specifically geared to high school girls. This site is a place where they can go to read about their dream jobs and meet inspiring women.

Engineering K12 Center (American Society for Engineering Education)
eGFI is proudly brought to you by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). This group is committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. On their site you can find out how to become an engineer, read through college information, and check out spotlights of people working in the field.

Gotta Have IT (National Center for Women & Information Technology)
NCWIT has multiple outreach campaigns and career information including Gotta Have IT is an all-in-one computing resource kit designed with educators’ needs in mind. A select set of high-quality posters, computing and IT careers information, digital media and more, the resource kit builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Gotta Have IT is for all students, but is especially inclusive for girls.

I-SEEK Careers: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
I-SEEK is Minnesota’s career, education and job resource. Here you will find multiple ways to assess your skills and explore related careers, all the relevant information you will need on planning your education and tips on how to find a job.

Internet Science and Technology Fair
From October through February of each year, student teams apply technology to real-world problems when they participate in the ISTF. They form teams and complete online investigations in science, engineering, and other technical fields. Each team then gets the opportunity to work with a practicing scientist or engineer who acts as the team’s on-line technical advisor. The ultimate goal is that through this experience, the students will become more interested in science careers and understand the innovation process.

LifeWorks
An interactive career exploration web site for middle and high school students sponsored by the National Institutes of Health with information on more than 100 medical science and health careers by title, education required, interest area, or median salary. Alternatively, the “Career Finder” can be used to generate a customized list of careers especially suited for users’ skills and interests.

STEM Career
A brokering site that supports STEM advocates by providing information on STEM initiatives, student access, and career readiness.

STEM Career Depot

State-of-the-art career assessment and planning resources for everyone

Texas Instrument Student Zone
Texas Instrument offers STEM career resources for students to explore, STEM degrees, careers, courses, and projects.

The Fun Works
This project is a compilation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career development information for middle school and early high school youth. The goal is to create a comprehensive career development resource that is inviting and engaging the diverse populations of middle and early high school students, that builds on their diverse interests, and draws them into a range of career exploration options and resources.

Virtual Skies
Produced by NASA for use in high schools and flight technology programs, Virtual Skies explores the worlds of aviation technology, air traffic management, and current research.

Vocational Information Center- Manufacturing Career Guide

Explore careers in Manufacturing with the following links to job descriptions, which include information such as daily activities, skill requirements, salary and training required. To learn more about the Manufacturing Industry, follow the related links below the career descriptions section.

Women Tech World
“A national on-line home for women technicians to connect with each other.” For those interested, this site offers information about various technical careers, profiles of current professionals and FAQs for females interested in pursuing STEM careers.

You Can Be Anything
A video and lesson plan using the power of media to give young people, particularly girls and young women, a very positive impression of the career opportunities available in information technology (IT) and science-related fields where technology plays a major role.

In the News: STEM Initiatives

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

You may have recently seen or heard news coverage on the urgent need for more skilled workers trained in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education. The CNN/ Fortune magazine Web site recently wrote about it and NPR member station WAMU in Washington also weighed in with a report on The Diane Rehm Show.

If the bad news is that there is currently a shortage of STEM-educated workers, the good news is that there are many novel programs — both new and established — to encourage and promote STEM education and to help train and prepare students for the growing science and technology job market. And key to many of these initiatives are partnerships between education and industry.

For example, in 2009, the White House launched the Educate to Innovate campaign to help promote programs to “grow” America’s scientific and technological workforce, with a goal of cultivating as many as 3 million skilled workers by 2018. One component of this campaign is Change the Equation, a nonprofit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative which collaborates with educators and communities across the country to develop programs to inspire students’ interest in science and technology. One of the programs, the Science Career Ladder turns high-school and college-age students into “Explainers” where they work at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York, to help guide visitors through the scientific exhibits. Similarly, the Engineering is Elementary program launched by the Museum of Science in Boston provides younger children with curricula in key engineering concepts. Lessons cover subjects from the design of water filters and parachutes to how to clean up an oil spill, introducing sophisticated — and important — engineering concepts to more than 1 million students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Similar partnerships are leading to new training programs in the manufacturing field. The Department of Energy recently announced a series of new manufacturing job training partnerships (together with the Manufacturing Institute, the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies and Macomb Community College) to provide students with virtual technician training as well as other interactive materials in a variety of STEM areas.

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program helped pave the way for these successful models. Created in 1992 to improve the productivity of American high-tech industries by “growing” the nation’s work force, the ATE program today has 39 centers around the country providing training for a wide variety of cutting-edge industries, from agriculture to biotechnology, to cyber security and new energy technologies. According to recent findings, in 2010, ATE Centers educated more than 70,000 students, including 60 percent at community colleges. ATE also offered programs at more than 1,250 educational institutions nationwide – 50 percent at two-year colleges. ATE also developed more than 2,300 curriculum materials and served more than 58,000 educators.

One of the keys to ATE success has always been its close working relationships with industry: by understanding employers’ expectations for technicians now and in the future, ATE helps formulate new strategies and develop new programs to ensure that students enter the workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary for success. AgrowKnowledge is a great example. This ATE Center works closely with its Industry Partners Council to identify employers’ needs, define skill requirements and prepare students for careers in precision agriculture, biotechnology, alternative energy production and natural resource management — agricultural fields that have grown increasingly more technical in recent years.

And that’s good news, indeed.

Robotics in the Classroom

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Robotics are essential to our economy and our workplaces. As a special report in Bloomberg Businessweek noted last year, in addition to playing a key role in manufacturing and other established industries, robotics are essential to developing industries, including companies that produce wind turbines, solar panels and advanced batteries and the automobiles they power.

Robotics also play a valuable role in the classroom. We talked with Donald McCoy about the value of robotics as a teaching tool. A retired IBM electrical engineer, Mr. McCoy last year launched his own company, Donald McCoy and Associates, to help demonstrate how robotics can be used to inspire both students and educators in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) curriculum.

1) Why is there interest in robotics for teaching STEM content? What is the value?
The value is in increased learning. We know that most students learn and stay engaged longer with topics they are interested in; robotics is clearly one of those topics. Indirectly, the entertainment industry has helped spark the interests in STEM with popular high-tech science-fiction projects. For example, people have been fascinated with robotics for decades. From Star Trek to Star Wars, many students have entered engineering schools in hopes of developing the next sophisticated robot or Go-Go Gadget. As a result, STEM industry leaders are seeking students that have been trained to be problem-solvers and innovators to take on new global challenges, such as life sciences, energy management, and technologies to advance our social well-being and needs.

2) How does integrating a robotics kit/project into a curriculum impact students? Short term benefits? Long term gains?

Curriculum that has been designed with lesson plans that include robotics technologies and/or project-based instruction has been proven effective in developing hands-on experiences, self-esteem, grade performance, communications, and teamwork. Robotics kits are very versatile with components suitable for many K-12 science, technology, and math lab and classroom projects.

The short-term benefits include the immediate gratification of success in completing assigned projects and the challenge of working in teams to solve problems and to be creative.

The long term gain is that students start building a personal inventory of experiences, usage of tools, applied equations, and collaboration much earlier in their development cycle. Frankly, even if a career in STEM is not desired by the student, the applied math, problem-solving, and logical thinking will help in building life skills.

3) What kinds of standards can be met with a robotics project in the classroom?

There are many robotics projects and applications that can be applied to ‘standard course of studies’ in science and technology and mathematics as defined nationally and internationally. Nearly any curriculum that includes a lab experiment can take advantage of using a robotics central processing unit for data collection, calculations, and/or sensor technologies to increase STEM learning. For example, there are robotics kit sensor technologies that detect and monitor soil moisture pH levels, ultraviolet light, temperature, and conductivity. The collected data can be graphed, analyzed, and reported on using real-world advanced methods. By integrating the appropriate robotics technologies into traditional classroom and lab projects, educators provide students with an opportunity to learn about research, data analysis, technologies, and engineering practices while adding excitement to learning.

4) Looking ahead, what aspects of this experience could translate to a work environment?

All robotics and STEM projects are designed to translate into real-world work experiences. The projects demonstrate real-world concepts and applications. The projects help develop student skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, hand-on experiences, and teamwork. It is important to cultivate and nurture sound behaviors in leadership, time management, effective communications, and responsibility early. Today’s employers are seeking well-rounded students that are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and team players.

The State of the Union: Science and Technology

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The State of the Union: Science and Technology

Science and technology played major roles in President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address last Tuesday night, January 25th, as he emphasized the need for America to maintain its leadership in “a rapidly changing world,” in order to keep our economy on course.

As the President described, “In a single generation, revolutions in technology have [already] transformed the way we live, work and do business.” To continue to maintain this momentum, he explained, the country will invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology, “an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”

Not surprisingly, training students for careers in clean technologies, green building, biotech, and cutting-edge information technology are also central to the missions of Advanced Technological Education and community colleges across the country. We thought we’d take this opportunity to recap some of the resources available to students and job-seekers in the fields of biotech, IT, and clean energy — the technologies that will help provide our economy’s momentum in the years to come.

Clean energy:

The President has proposed an ambitious plan of generating 80 percent of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. ATEEC, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center promotes and supports environmental and energy technology education, partnering with industry to provide a foundation for the nation’s sustainable future. Sustainable energy draws on resources that will never run out — be it wind power or solar energy — and also focuses on refurbishing existing buildings with renewable materials, and performing energy audits to help businesses and other institutions to reduce waste and pollution. Last year, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) launched the Sustainability Education and Economy Development (SEED) Center an online resource to help prepare workers for the future green economy.

Biotech:

The President’s speech also addressed the need for investment in biomedical research, one of the keys to the future development of new drugs and vaccines.

Since its emergence in the 1970s, the biotech field has already created more than 200 new therapies, diagnostics, and vaccines, including products to treat cancer and diabetes, as well as methods to keep our blood supply safe. Therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease are among the hundreds more biotech products currently being tested. As ATE’s Bio-Link describes, Associates’ degrees from Bio-Link programs provide students with lessons in the cutting-edge techniques, technologies and equipment related to molecular biology, recombinant DNA, immunology, protein purification and tissue culture — the integral components of the biotech industry. To learn more about job opportunities in the biosciences and genetics, check out Bio-Link’s Career Page.

Information Technology:

Finally, the President also called for new efforts to ensure that the U.S. has the fastest, most reliable ways to move and share data through the high-speed Internet. His National Wireless Initiative will enable business to grow faster, helps students learn more and provide public safety officials with access to state-of-the-art, secure, mobile communications, according to a report on Scicasts. To learn more about the many educational opportunities and career options available in the widespread IT industry, check out the related Advanced Technological Education Centers.

If I were to do it again… career advice from a STEM grad

Monday, January 18th, 2010

This week, we have a post from a guest blogger. Nicholas Lloyd, 27, is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnical Institute who lives in Ashland, Mass. He currently works as a software engineer, but, as he explains below, he came to college interested in biology. Here he describes how he used networking and internships to find a career he truly loves.

For the past few years now I have been working as a software engineer. I am very happy on this path, but it was not the first that I chose for myself. I first studied and even got a degree in biology, with aspirations of working in a lab for a pharmaceutical company.

When I was first looking for colleges, I honestly wasn’t thinking about what would happen after. I knew what I was interested in — biology, at the time — and I wanted a school with a solid program that also felt like a good fit for me.

But towards the end of my freshman year, the real world didn’t seem so far away. I started thinking more about what I would actually do afterwards, particularly as I searched for summer internships. I came to the rather startling realization that I really didn’t know what a biologist or biotech professional actually did.

To find out, that summer I managed to get an internship at a biotech start-up doing computational biology: basically, using computer programming to help the scientists with their work in the lab. That internship helped me in two different ways: it was the foundation that helped me get internships later on, and it showed me that there was more to biotech then just “working in a lab.”

In fact, doing internships probably helped me the most of all I did in my career exploration. Since they usually give you a taste of what is to come, they are a great way to help you land that first job after college. My college career center was a fantastic way to find internships, and as I discovered, it never hurts to use any networking resources you have, including your family.

Looking back, I wish I looked more closely at what kind of jobs would interest me as early as high school. I knew what subjects interested me, but I found out much later that most of the opportunities in that area were far from what I wanted to do. On top of that, it took me a while before I knew what questions to ask, and even longer to figure out WHERE I could find the answers.

Knowing the right questions, asking around to find the right people, and getting as much experience as you can before graduating — either high school or college — can help immensely to find the direction you want to go. Take the time now; it can make a difference!