Exploring STEM Occupations

By McLaughlin, Charlie | Technology and Children, September 2009 | Go to article overview
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Exploring STEM Occupations


McLaughlin, Charlie, Technology and Children


Your school is surrounded with opportunities to demonstrate STEM occupations, whether you live in the most rural area or in an urban environment. The fact is, most occupations will require workers who have had STEM education. Students must be made aware of these occupations and be put in contact with people who occupy these professions. One scenario that worked well in an elementary school in a nearby community was an occupation fair. Teachers at that school invited professionals from occupations that were typically found in the community. Each professional created a small display related to the work that was being done at his or her business. Many of these people related the requirements for the jobs. Most of the presenters had information about the courses that students needed to take if they wanted to enter that career path.

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Another strategy to make your students aware of STEM careers is to invite guest speakers to your class. Many companies and businesses take the time to perform outreach into schools so that teachers and students get to learn about what they do.

Perhaps practicing members of the professions listed below are in your community and could make themselves available for a visit to your school.

STEM careers

(The source for these career descriptions can be found at ONET Resource Center, U.S. Department of Labor: http://online. onetcenter.org/.)

Accountant

This profession requires a sound mathematics and computer science background. If you are interested in figures and analyzing budgets, this is a great career. Most accountants prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards. They compute taxes owed and prepare tax returns, ensuring compliance with payment, reporting, or other tax requirements. Other duties include analyzing business operations, trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations, to project future revenues and expenses or to provide advice.

Agricultural Technicians

These technicians work with agricultural interests to insure that animals and crops are raised humanely and without disease that could enter the food chain. The technician often receives and prepares laboratory samples for analysis, following proper protocols to ensure that they will be stored, prepared, and disposed of efficiently and effectively. They record data pertaining to experimentation, research, and animal care. The AG technician must be comfortable around animals and familiar with plants because they need to collect samples from crops or animals so testing can be performed. In the lab, they operate laboratory equipment such as spectrometers, nitrogen determination apparatus, air samplers, centrifuges, and potential hydrogen (pH) meters to perform tests.

Biomedical Engineers

These engineers apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.

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