The questions surrounding STEM

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NASA

Sylvia Diaz, News Editor

     STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has become a hot term in education and careers. Looking at the speed at which society makes advancements, it’s no surprise why STEM fields and education are so prevalent right now. But for those who have no desire to work in a STEM field (and take STEM courses), there are some ways taking STEM classes can benefit a person.

     More than just what sort of work they may prepare a student for, STEM classes guide students to become more capable problem solvers. To understand a scientific or mathematical concept requires the mind to approach problems with one specific conclusion present. Actually getting to that conclusion can involve taking a path well traveled or completely new territory. The entire process is set up for trial and error, requiring a person to handle defeat by asking why it didn’t work and going back to the drawing board. Aware of that process, a student can take the knowledge of how to handle problems and problems that present themselves while solving a problem with them to whatever field they decide to enter in later.

     Another reason why students should consider taking STEM classes is for the role STEM plays in the societal narrative. Human progression has constantly been driven by scientific and technological advancements. Regardless of where someone sees themselves in their future career wise, being able to understand STEM-related developments will be important to understanding the world around them. As students become working adults and the front-runners of our nation’s population, the American public must (at least) stay on par with other those of international superpowers.

     Staying on par with the rest of world also requires the U.S. to have workers ready to fill the up and coming jobs of the future. The U.S. Department of Commerce report STEM-related fields are growing at a rate of 17% with non-STEM fields growing at 9.8%. While students debate what they’ll want to study in college and ultimately do for a living, STEM classes in high school provide an avenue for trying something new. If a student ends up loving those classes enough to continue with them, they can go on to fill the very necessary positions that keep the U.S. labor force competitive.

     For the United States, having a population that is at the very least proficient at understanding things related to STEM (from implementing new technology effectively to being able to debate internet privacy as well-informed individuals) is vital. Technology and science are becoming more integrated with day to day life and the populace needs to keep up. While generations will grow up in increasingly STEM-saturated environments, there is likely to be a gap in proficiency with the older sector of the population when they stop being an active member of those saturated environments. To bridge the gap, STEM classes early on (or even into high learning) help people approach developments with a logical mind with the aim of understanding. And that’s what STEM education is at its core, teaching people how to understand logically through problem solving and collaboration between people.