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Many of the best-paying, lowest-unemployment jobs in Massachusetts and across the USA are based in STEM fields.  Every product and convenience that we enjoy in everyday living was developed by teams of STEM professionals such as engineers and scientists working to solve real-world problems.  STEM careers span a broad spectrum of employment opportunities ranging from research scientists searching for cures for cancer to your local automobile technician using high tech tools to repair the family car.  STEM professionals are motivated by a spirit of innovation and discovery to make our world a better place to live.

There are opportunities for entering STEM careers at all educational levels—some don’t even require a college degree.  Prepare yourself to be ready for any field of study or employment by taking at least four years of high school math and three years of high school science.  STEM fields of study include:

•Agriculture & Natural Resources

•Architecture

•Biological & Biomedical Sciences

•Computer & Information Sciences

•Engineering & Engineering Technology/Technicians

•Health Professionals & Clinical Sciences

•Mathematics & Statistics

•Physical Sciences

More detail information on STEM related careers can be found at the following websites.

·         Massachusetts Career Information System (MassCIS): https://masscis.intocareers.org/materials/portal/home.html

·         Sloan Career Cornerstone Center:  http://www.careercornerstone.org/

·         Occupational Information Network (O*NET) Online:  http://www.onetonline.org/find/stem

·         Science Buddies “Careers in Science”:  http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-engineering-careers

Learn more about STEM Careers from the professionals living them everyday!

Margaret Carroll, STEM Dean and Professor
Framingham State University

 How did you become interested in a STEM profession?
M:  Well it’s kind of a funny story, I think back to a lunch I had a year ago with a childhood friend, and she said to me “Margaret, do you remember when we used to play in the swamp?” and I said to her “I still do”. I didn’t realize then that it would be my profession, I originally went to college to major in Psychology, but at my college they told me to take biology first and get it over with, and well, after that I never took another psychology class.

 What are your professional development experiences with the STEM fields? Where do you find these resources?
M: I’ve been involved with the Massachusetts Association of Biology Teachers. I’m also on the board of directors for the National Association of Biology Teachers and have been involved with them for about 14 years. I also started volunteering with the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission and then got nominated to be on the board of directors for that organization as well.

Do you feel that students have a good idea about how STEM education connects to STEM professional fields? What could be improved?
M: No. I don’t. I think a lot of students come into this major and I don’t think they connect it to professional fields, or they don’t know what the opportunities are. They come in as science majors thinking “I’m going to be a doctor!” and then after the first semester here they realize “I’m not going to be a doctor!” and then they start to realize that there are other things that you can do with their major.

 Do you invite outside professionals from the STEM fields to come into your classroom? How do you connect with them initially?
M: I have invited them into my class in the past, but I’m currently not teaching now. I’ve also brought my students to a local organic farm in Hopkinton. I connect to them through the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission or though my interest in organic farms. I also connect with other faculty off campus.

What types of resources do faculty use to stay in touch with the latest STEM developments? (books, magazines, blogs, websites, etc.)
M: I read professional journals, I attend professional conferences, and I read Science in the News that summarizes the big advances in science that have come out each week, and I get those in my inbox once a week.

Visit Margaret's LinkedIn to learn more.

Groot Gregory, Manager
Synopsis Optics Group

How did you become involved in a STEM related field? How did you prepare yourself for your profession?
G: I started as a Physics major and a programmer, and then mastered in Optics. There was always fierce competition, but through networking and starting small, I worked my way up to the position I have today.

 Where do you go to find quality people for your company?
G: We usually go to technical graduate schools. We have also looked at the University of Rochester, University of Arizona, University of Central Florida, and we have previously hired students from Boston University for our optics team.

 What successes have you had in finding quality employees?
G: Well it takes us a long time to find people, and the process of hiring someone is rather involved. We probably hire less people than we actually should.

 For those employees coming right out of school, how well do you think they are prepared to enter a STEM-related profession?
G: Well there is a presumption here that anyone that we hire will need some sort of basic training. We do hire individuals that are familiar with optics, but we do assume that they will need to be taught some things such as writing the software to go with it. Our new employees after about a month of training are working at a satisfactory level, but usually after 6 months they are working at an exceptional level.

 Do you have experience helping to bring an understanding of STEM related fields to your local community? How?
G: Yes, we do try to outreach to students at science fairs and we work with local students optics programs. We try to be out in the field at all levels.

Visit Groot's LinkedIn to learn more.

Ayora Berry, Manager
PTC
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How did you become involved in a STEM related field? How did you prepare yourself for your profession?
A: I have been an educator for STEM related teachers and professionals since 2009, and I’ve also taught children. I’ve also taken professional development classes and I use online resources to better myself and network.

 Where do you go to find quality people for your company?
A: I usually find them though partners like Metrowest STEM, but I also look at emails, ads, posters, and professional development organizations.

 What successes have you had in finding quality employees?
A: Finding people through networking and partners has been a great success. Participating at events and conferences work well too.

 For those employees coming right out of school, how well do you think they are prepared to enter a STEM-related profession?
A: Well the research is a mix. Some teachers entering the field will say that they feel very prepared, and those teachers are the ones who mostly teach biology. Engineering teachers usually report being the least prepared.

 Do you have experience helping to bring an understanding of STEM related fields to your local community? How?
A: Yeah we do have some outreach programs that our Corporate Social Responsibilities department is in charge of handling. Our targeted program provides training and resources to students and teachers.

Visit Ayora Berry's website to learn more.