Articles

Getting a Career in STEM

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM) are incredibly exciting. Now more than ever we need diverse minds working on the world’s most pressing problems, and a career in STEM is one way to be a part of that.

If you are considering a career in STEM, here are some things to keep in mind:

Find a major that fits your interests
Whether you are thinking about college or are in college now, it is important to explore your interests. For example, do you like building things and solving complicated puzzles? Learn more about engineering. Maybe even take a class in the subject. Are you passionate about protecting the environment? Earth or environmental science might be for you. Don’t be afraid to take a variety of classes or participate in different extracurricular activities like student clubs, research projects with a professor, or volunteering with a local science class. You never know what might spark your interest!

Also, if college isn’t for you, you may want to consider trade school, where you can gain a specific skillset for a specialized job. Trade school, or technical college, is different than a 4-year university; typically, most programs at trade schools take 3 months to a year to complete, or a little longer if you want to get your associates.

There are a diversity of STEM jobs – find one that suits you!
STEM jobs aren’t just about being a rocket scientist or researcher. They also include electricians, carpenters, and welders.

Some STEM jobs require advanced degrees, and some don’t. Whatever options suit your skills, there are a lot of exciting opportunities in the STEM world.

Establish a network of mentors
We all need mentors. Studying STEM or working in a STEM career can be daunting sometimes, so it is important to find the people that can be in your corner to cheer you on and help give you an extra push when you need it. Sometimes, you can find one mentor to serve all these needs, but often we need multiple mentors to help us navigate the variety of challenges and changes we will face.

Find mentors that can help you in the different areas of your life that are important to you and your career – this might include cultural, educational, and professional mentors.

Remember that you belong
Sometimes, it might seem like STEM spaces – whether it’s school or work – weren’t developed for you as an Indigenous person. After all, many academic institutions are built on the stolen land of our ancestors and serve predominantly white populations. Also, a lack of diversity can be seen in many STEM professions, where you may sometimes be the only Native person in the room.

When you feel like an outsider, remember that our ancestors have always been scientists and data keepers. Seek out mentors who can help you harness that awesomeness and colleagues and friends who respect the different perspective you bring to the table. Also, consider joining professional associations in your field that have an Indigenous group. If this doesn’t exist, work to create one.

Keep in mind that you come from a long line of innovative people who have thrived for thousands of years due to their ability to “think big” and solve complex problems. You will bring that unique perspective and wisdom with you into whatever STEM space you want to be in. Not only do you deserve to be in these spaces, but you are needed there too.

Resources:

Author: McKalee Steen is a member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and is currently a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley in the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management department. She is passionate about studying Indigenous land stewardship practices, providing resources for Indigenous youth, and the power of storytelling.

I Don’t Have Health Insurance – Now What?

There are plenty of reasons why you might not have health insurance....

Tips for Saving

So, you’re thinking about getting that car you’ve been eyeing, or you...

Vote Indian Vote

Students from Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana promote the Native American Vote.

How to Stay Safe When Traveling

Whether you’re going somewhere a couple of hours away or outside the...

Opening a Bank Account

Are you starting your first job? Going to college soon? Or just...

Gangs

Nonfiction film about the gang crisis in Indian Country.  

When and How to Quit a Job

If you have a job, you’ve probably dreaded going in at least...

Staying Balanced in College

Keeping a healthy balance between life, school, and work is what everyone...

Money, Money, Money

  Sean Robinson is a young male struggling to live on his...

6 Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Applying to scholarships for college, graduate school, or even summer programs can...

How to Pick the Right College For You

Deciding to go to college is a big decision and one that...

REPRESENT

Kayla Gebeck, Red Lake Ojibwe, studies linguistics and Native American Studies at...

How to Lease Your First Apartment

6 Tips for Renting Your First Apartment  On the lookout for your...

Moving in With Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend is a big decision. It...

Choices

Life choices come at you fast. The choices you make today, affect...

Moving Off Campus: A Guide to Plan Your Move

Deciding when, how and where to move off-campus can be very exciting...

Moving on After College

Finishing college and moving on to new things can be exciting, and...

College Advice

Stephanie Spearing (Southern Cheyenne from Oklahoma) gives advice about financial aid and...

Myths About College

Myth: College is one big party. Fact: Sure, parties are part of...

Paying for College

Many students worry that tuition and the other costs of continuing their...

College Advice

James Dakota (Sauk-Suiattle), a student at Northwest Indian College, shares what he’s...

Choosing a College

Before you explore and compare different schools, first decide what you’re looking...

College Orientation

Orientation is an activity (ranging from a few days to a week)...

College Advice

Jeannette (Blackfeet Nation), a student at Portland State University, shares how she...

How Does a Person Become Resilient?

A number of factors contribute to a person’s ability to be resilient...

Leaving Home

Many people eventually leave the home they grew up in and find...

Do Grades Matter?

Do my grades matter when I’m a freshman? Erika, Yankton Sioux, talks...

Moving Away to Attend College

Making the decision to move away to school can be really difficult....

562

562: A photo project documenting all 562…now 566 tribes in the United...

Homelessness

Watch Elmer helping a homeless friend during tough times.  Created by Menominee...

A Career in the STEM Field

Are you thinking about a career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,...

Financial Aid – Getting Money For College

Going to college can be expensive, but financial aid and scholarships can...

Identity In College

Finding yourself and discovering your identity is part of life. Ah-in-nist shares...

Indigenous Story Studio

Indigenous Story Studio creates illustrations, posters, video and comic books on health...

Ill Mind of Ghost Dog: The Beginning

Hello my fellow Native and non-Native brethren’s. My name is Thomas Lee...

Life Transitions-to adulthood

Three boys learn an important life lesson in Sterlin Harjo (Creek/Seminole) short...

Imelda Martina Sanchez

I am Imelda Martina Sanchez. I am a Native and Mexican American...

Preparing for College

Finally, it’s SENIOR year at long last! Like most rising high school...

Managing High School and College Pressures

Make the best of your academic experience, work hard but also have...

The National Native American Youth Initiative

Preparing Future Native Physicians and Researchers For many students, summer is a...

Write a Resume That Will Make You Shine

Writing a resume that makes you stand out doesn’t have to be...

My friends talk about me behind my back. Really?!

see answer

Find Us

Contest

Getting a Career in STEM

Follow Us

Enter Phone Number to Subscribe:

Msg & Data Rates May Apply.
Text STOP to opt out. No purchase necessary.
Expect 4 msgs/mo.Terms and Conditions

Menu