Breaking It Down: STEM

STEM-educationWe talk a lot about STEM here on the blog, but what does the acronym really mean? What does it mean to be STEM-literate? And most importantly, why would you want to have strong skills in this area?

As we know, problems with the skills gap is happening across the world, so it’s important to understand the wide variety of subjects and careers and ideas that STEM covers. It’s an acronym, but there’s a lot more to understand than just what word is associated with each letter.

So at the most basic level, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math education. But why are these paired together?

Well, theoretically these fields are most effectively used in the real world when they are intertwined, meaning that learning math will complement an engineering career, and so forth. It’s tricky to get one without the other, so pairing them up is what generally makes the most sense for real world applications.

STEM education is more than just books and lectures– it entails hands-on learning and problem-based learning to solve issues and develop the logical skills necessary for a career in any of these areas. As manufacturers, we care about this because skilled laborers need to have an understanding of the practical application of ideas, rather than just concepts with no semblance of how concepts actually work.

And that’s why here in Nebraska, STEM education is so important at any and all education institutions. When a student graduates with an idea of STEM-literacy, it prepares them to be an innovator and a critical thinker who can then work to integrate their knowledge into the community. After graduating from high school with STEM skills, students have options from going straight into the field to enrolling in a college to study science, technology, engineering or math– whatever they prefer. And eventually, these college educations will translate to high-wage jobs in an incredibly vast range of industries.

A great way to find out if you might be interested in these areas and doing what you love is by taking the STEM type quiz. Since not everyone who works in a STEM field does a similar thing, this quiz will identify your strengths and what area of STEM careers those will translate into. Do you love to travel? Observe? Teach? This quiz will comb through your preferences and give you options and ideas to explore further. From Art Preservation Specialist to science teacher to scientific and technical writers, there is a whole world of careers that many people have never heard of.

So go ahead, explore a little. Take the quiz, and see if STEM education is something you could potentially be interested in. With questions about anything in this post or if you want to learn more, leave a comment in the section below anytime!

photo credit: IntelFreePress via photopin cc