It’s no surprise that in a top ten list of the most valuable college majors, eight of them contain the word “engineering.” This list pulled data from the U.S. Census 2011-2015 American Community Survey and determined that students who major in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields have more job prospects and higher earning potential.

IEEE President and CEO Karen Bartleson participated in a STEM on Fire podcast, where she was interviewed about her long career as an engineer, the work that IEEE does and also shared advice for students who are thinking of careers in STEM.

Getting students to pick STEM majors starts with involvement and excitement about STEM early on in their education. Bartleson mentioned  an IEEE sponsored website, Tryengineering.org, as a resource for students, their parents, teachers and school counselors to learn about engineering and the careers that are available. There are also programs for teachers to learn about engineering, get teaching resources for classrooms, as well as ideas for helping prepare students for a future career in engineering.

Bartleson’s advice for students to be successful in STEM studies in college is to never pass up opportunities, and to explore any field of engineering that seems interesting.

Taking risks and not being afraid to fail is a big part of learning.  

Bartleson was in college when there were very few female students studying engineering, so she connected with other people who were studying in the same fields to work together and challenge each other. She advises that students today do the same and also find a mentor who is already working in engineering and will take some time to share their insights.

Getting the current generation excited about studying for a career in STEM is very important since, in the future, they will be helping the world and solving global problems for the benefit of humanity, she said.

Listen to the full podcast for more advice and insight from President Bartleson here.

Written by IEEE on October 16, 2017