Sunday, 26 November 2017 09:13

    What Drives My Work At STEMgem? My Story

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    Why STEMgem? To explain STEMgem's purpose and vision, let me start with my own story.

    My high school education at a technology-focused school provided me with great exposure to engineering. I loved it there. But throughout my teenage years, I had little opportunity to experience my skills as socially impactful. Certainly, my teachers gave me positive feedback on skills I gained and tasks I completed, but nothing I created was truly useful to anyone in a way I could appreciate. I felt I knew what engineering is and which tasks are involved, and I perceived myself as sufficiently skilled to become an engineer, but I did not perceive engineering as relevant to my life or that of anyone around me.

    Planning my career during that time, like so many others, I knew I wanted to work with people and impact the world around me. I consequently picked a business major in college. But a year into my college degree, during an internship, I had a key experience that changed everything. During a summer job at a German precision parts factory, I programmed the control system of an inspection machine (using tools I had been taught to use in high school). This machine dramatically improved my co-workers’ jobs and earned the respect of all supervising engineers. This experience entirely changed the way I saw engineering. From one day to the next, there was a purpose to engineering. Suddenly, the little fears I had, that it might be dominated by guys or that industry might be requiring different skills than those in which I had proven myself in school, were no longer important. As quickly as I realized this, I pivoted in my career path and started over in college – this time majoring in mechanical engineering.

    It is the recognition how critical this experience of social impact was and the desire to package it in a way that is accessible to middle or high school students, that is my driving force now.

    Talking to teenagers today, I had to learn that perspectives have not fundamentally changed. I talked to a dear friend who was applying for college, and even though she was passionate about engineering and product design, she didn't really see the point of her pursuing it as a career path, give all the perceived obstacles. This and many other examples showed me that we still have a long way to go. And this is when I set my goal to take the experience I had during my college internship, when I first experienced my own technical talent as truly impactful and real, and package it to fit into any home and any classroom, so every teenager can have the chance to experience their own technical talent - developed yet or not - in a real and impactful way. Just like any engineer or scientist does, as they change the world around us, every day.

    Read 472 times Last modified on Sunday, 03 December 2017 15:48

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