STEMCon teaches students about STEM field opportunities

Anamaria Soler/Staff Writer

The FIU College of Arts, Sciences and Education hosted their third annual STEMCon, an event for students who are interested in entering the science, technology, engineering and mathematics on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at the Modesto Maidique campus.

Those interested were able to learn more about their field career opportunities and planning, success strategies, and undergraduate research through workshops, panel discussions, and a resource fair.

Attendees were given a bag of goodies, such as sunglasses, a water bottle with the CASE logo and a folder with the agenda for the event. surveys for the presenters and a brochure with information about National Student Exchange were also given out.

One of the first events held was the Resource Fair, where many organizations both on campus and off present themselves to STEM students in the form of booths.

Miami Dade County Public Schools’ booth was at the resource fair with the goal of looking for individuals who have a strong math or science background for recruitment in a highly selective six-week summer program called the Teachers Elevating Achievement for All Children.

“We have met wonderful talent today here at STEMCON and hope students know they have employment with M-DCPS. We need strong math and science teachers to pour into the next generation,” said Sandra Castellon, one of the recruiters at the M-DCPS booth.

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers booth, in contrast, represented an FIU club, which was what the majority of booths were for as well. SHPE is a professional engineering society centered around the Hispanic community, but they can help anyone of any major or ethnicity.

SHPE’s goal is to get members to succeed in the workforce by connecting to many STEM and engineering companies, which allows them to get these companies to help the students by hosting workshops on topics like team building and specific disciplines. They also help the members get ready for conferences and host many volunteering events, like cleaning up parks and beaches.

The Women in Computer Sciences also had a booth in the Research Fair. The club helps to motivate women to build careers, mostly in computer science, though other majors are also welcome. The mission of the WICS is “to create a nurturing environment that will provide academic, professional, and emotional support to female students in the field and therefore create more opportunities for women in the School of Computing and Information Sciences to succeed,” according to their website.

One member of this organization, Samara Ruiz Sandoval, said the club “is a family that accompanies you to your career path.”

After the tabling, keynote speaker Ranu Jung, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, took to the stage, emphasizing the different roles we have as human beings.

“You may start out as a physicist, a chemist, a mathematician, an engineer, or a biologist, but as life goes on, you may morph into something else. You will develop another hat to wear,” said Jung.  

She also talked about the National Science Foundation, alluding to the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” in which entrepreneurs go to investor “Sharks” to present their business idea and get funding for it.

“If you have an idea, you can propose it to them, according to the National Science Foundation. A set of people decide if they like the idea. If they like the idea, they decide to give money to that idea,” said Jung.

She also mentioned a concept she uses for motivation that she calls a “moon shot,” a photo of the moon which represents reaching for the stars and not staying content.

“If you climb mountains, then on the top, there is usually, almost always, a fantastic view,” said Jung.

Featured photo by Anamaria Soler.

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