STEM Career Connections for Students
The GO-STEM Partnership works with school and industry partners in seven counties across Eastern Oregon to support integrated learning and authentic application of STEM subjects in the classroom. There is great value for students in connecting with adults who are working in these careers. Not only do they see how their learning applies in the real-world but they also learn how to prepare themselves for competitive, high-wage, local careers.
How do students know what job they might take after school or what schooling them might take to prepare for that job? If you ask most high school students about a career, their knowledge of STEM careers is often delimited by the jobs of people they know or the more traditional occupations like scientist, engineer, doctor, nurse, electrician, etc. How do we acquaint students with the array of STEM jobs for which they have no clue that exist?
One powerful way is to take them to the job site where they can see people in these positions and learn about industry. Manufacturing Day, designed by Kalie Davis and the Blue Mountain Workforce Training Center, brought students from around the region to explore careers in industry. Starting at the Training Center, students dug into computers and learned what technicians do to keep the data center in Boardman running. They would hear about what education they would need to do the job, how much they could expect to earn, and the environment of the job place.
From there, students boarded the bus and made a short hop to one plant of the nation’s largest potato processing company. Touring the facility they heard and saw people maintaining and repairing automated systems and understanding the degree of technology required in a modern plant.
From there they visited an electric power plant. Seems simple, right? Did you know that everyone at this facility is steeped in a knowledge of chemistry? Power production depends on water with very specific characteristics. Engineers and technicians check for water pH, mineral content, and purity at multiple points to assure that the massive boilers and valves do not either corrode or cake with deposits. The students learned first-hand from a power plant technician all of the various electrical and mechanical systems that were maintained and math and science required to keep pace with the learning. A final stop at the plant was the control room. Surrounded by dozens of screens and controls the technician demonstrated how the entire plant was run from this booth and how knowledge of softw
are systems was required to know how to manipulate the plant.
Manufacturing Day was a taste of what is out there–a teaser to get students thinking about the future and about the variety of jobs and positions waiting for them. It gave the lure of challenging and interesting jobs and the carrot of a good income as well as the road they need to take to get there.
You may not have the same range of manufacturing and industry like Boardman, but you can develop your own manufacturing day concept in your area by acquainting students with STEM careers they probably don’t know exist. Kalie would be happy to help you get started. Contact her at: KalieD@portofmorrow.com
The Scully Effect
Have you ever seen the TV show, The X Files? According to surveys only 3% of the US population has ever seen this sci-fi/mystery show that explores the pseudo scientific, bizarre stories of extraterrestrials, otherwise goofy unbelievable plots. Of that 3% who watch only about a third are women.
What researchers find interesting is how the viewers see one of the main characters in the weekly series, Dana Scully. Scully is a medical doctor and scientist and FBI agent assigned to the cases to make sure the male lead, Fox Mulder, isn’t making things up. It is her FBI responsibility to check Mulder’s work and to verify their observations. She is a keen observer and a skeptic, drawing conclusions that are logical and scientific.
The researchers asked young women who viewed the X Files to comment on their impression of Scully’s character and her role as a STEM professional. What they found was startling. Media may have as much or more impact on young women in their choice of a career field than other influences. Movies and television may have powerful influence in encouraging young women to consider STEM occupations. Read the whole article at: https://impact.21cf.com/sites/default/files/ScullyEffectReport_21CF_1.pdf
Read about Chief Corpus and his STEM career path: http://go-stem.org/voctech-ed/
GO STEM Regional Map
GO-STEM is currently developing an on-line map of eastern Oregon showing STEM-related business and industry that is available to share about their work with students. By being listed on this map, you can answer many questions teachers have without picking up the phone. Information you provide about what you have to offer students will be listed on your own page on the GO-STEM website. For example, you can describe the ages of students you are prepared to work with, how teachers should schedule a class tour, and what time of year you are available to meet with students. To see our map visit our Regional Map page under the Career Connections tab.
Interested in being on the Regional Map?
Please click the link below to fill out a quick form to provide information about your organization. It will take 5-10 minutes to fill out the form. If you work for a large organization feel free to invite other departments who would be interested in sharing their work to participate in this project. Those who have served our students in the past would like to continue serving are encouraged to fill the form out as well! Thank you for your support and if you should have any questions please contact us.