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What Is STEM? And Why You Should Care?

Professionals who work in STEM areas repeat the same theme - pursue a career in these areas if you have a passion about the possibility of teaching high school physics, developing robots for use in surgery, building roller coasters, or playing with subatomic particles. Then look forward to choosing your own professional adventures.

Here are six reasons why you should consider a career in STEM areas:

You get to work (and live) on the cutting edge.

In this category are doctors, geographers, actuaries, math teachers, science teachers, chemists, food scientists, astronomers, physical therapists, computer scientists, and aerospace engineers, among many other professions. (Wouldn't it feel great to introduce yourself as a computer scientist at your first post-college party?) Experts predict that even traditional "non-tech" industries will rely more heavily on professionals with STEM skills as technology becomes even more prevalent.

You can count on (slightly more) job security.

Driven by a growing demand, professionals who work in STEM fields are less likely to be unemployed than their non-STEM counterparts. This fact might make you feel a little better about taking those harder classes for your degree in physics or information technology, right?

You learn transferable skills.

Experts in education say that studying STEM areas gives you skills you can readily apply to a wide range of fields. Employer surveys show that hiring managers are eager for employees who can problem solve and think analytically, skills at the heart of STEM studies.

You don't have to shirk your artistic side.

Increasingly, STEM programs are interdisciplinary,(also known as STEAM - the A stands for Art), which means they combine math and science coursework with humanities classes. Employers seem especially interested in candidates with STEM degrees who can also communicate well with clients and colleagues who don't have science and math backgrounds.

Lots of companies and organizations offer STEM scholarships.

If you are serious about studying STEM, check out the Department of Defense's SMART scholarship at smart.asee.org, the AFCEA Education Foundation's STEM Teacher Scholarships at afcea.org/education/scholarships, the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative awards at umsi.uncf.org/sif, and the Davidson Institute Fellows awards at davidsongifted.org. A simple Google search will yield dozens of opportunities to earn money, as will any of the free scholarship sites such as fastweb.com or scholarships.com.

Chance to travel (for free).

Some involved in STEM careers need to travel around the globe to present their findings to various scientific panels and organizations. This could be your opportunity to see the world on someone else's dime.