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How can we encourage more young people to pursue careers in surveying and related fields? A study published earlier this year in the journal Science Education found that students who are interested in math and science at an early age are more likely to pursue eventual careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, collectively known as the STEM fields. The authors of the study, Robert H. Tai of the University of Virginia and Adam V. Maltese of Indiana University, said the increasing evidence that earlier engagement is important to steering students toward STEM careers makes it clear that subjects should be presented in an appealing way. Simply pushing high school students into more advanced courses isn’t enough; interest is key. And this interest is best developed even before high school.
That’s one reason Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, is so passionate in his support of the annual National Engineers Week Future City Competition. (Read the full story here.) Although the focus of the competition is on generating an interest in engineering careers, I can’t help but think that there must be opportunities for volunteers to show how surveying and data management are integral to infrastructure design.
Some sponsors of TRIG-STAR, the high school trigonometry skill awards program administered by the NSPS, are equally passionate in their support of this math-focused program. Giving students hands-on experience with equipment and helping them draw a CAD map or create a 3D model can leave a lasting impression. Even if they don’t pursue an eventual career in surveying, such an experience undoubtedly strengthens their understanding of-and respect for-the profession.
Kudos to all those who invest in the future of our kids, whether by financially supporting valuable educational programs or by volunteering their time. It’s a gift that has infinite impact.
Share your story! If you’ve been part of a successful educational program at the middle school or high school level, I’d love to hear about it. Email me at email@example.com.