STEM: today and tomorrow


Sophomore Micah Reich is seen here working on Javascript for AP Computer Science class. (Ben Ragals/The RamPage)

Ben Ragals

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is extremely important in today’s society. As society grows more reliant on technology, people must know how things work in order to improve technology and society. From the air we breath to the cars we drive, STEM is all around us. With the new Zalik Academy FabLab (Weber’s new lab featuring many new courses in the field of STEM) on the way, STEM is more important to Weber than ever.

Director of Technology, Dr. Will Ashby, agrees. When asked why he thinks STEM is important in today’s society, he said “Technology empowers! If you learn how to use and create technology, you can change the world. We see it all around us.” He went on to say, “Understanding engineering, math and science are equally important.” Ashby explained how crucial it is to know how things work in order to improve on it.

He also had an interesting point: “I’d like to add that design is equally important. People are willing to pay for things that neatly fit into how they work. In fact, some people are pushing the acronym TED or TEDS (Technology, Engineering, Design and Science) instead of STEM and STEAM . Design is definitely important. It’s hard to sell a great new thing if it is difficult for people to use or learn.” He’s right. Think of it this way: people need technology that fits their lifestyle. They don’t want to go out of their way or change how they live. The cellphone, for example, is easy to use and fits people’s day to day lives.

Weber has done a great job helping kids incorporate STEM into their lives. Dr. Ashby stated, “Weber is a great place to learn and grow in this field. Unlike other schools I’ve been in, the faculty here are ready and willing to engage with students. There is a lot of opportunity for the taking. The key is to tell yourself, ‘Hey, I may not be officially an adult yet, but I can still do important things.’ In fact, I’d add that the world needs you to engage. The best way to learn how to make a difference in the world is to try. Of course, you’ll make mistakes as you do, but that is how you learn. All the innovation going on in the world happens this way. You try, you fail, you learn, you try again and again and step by step you learn to succeed.” At Weber, students can really explore their scientific side. Weber now has many STEM related classes, like app development and computer science, and more will come with the introduction of the Zalik Academy.

Ashby also believes that jobs certainly are going to change in the near future due to STEM. “I definitely see some opportunities for good jobs out there. Cyber security is one. Creating software platforms on Amazon Web Services or the similar platforms from Google and Microsoft is another. 3D bioprinting is another.” Jobs are definitely changing. Software Developers, for example, are expected to be needed 24 percent more in the next eight years. The need for more TEDS and STEM related jobs are increasing as society is relying more and more on technology.

Society is changing. STEM related jobs are the jobs that will change the world for the better. From software developers to cyber security, and even jobs that may not exist yet, STEM is the driving force of our society. Make sure it’s going to change the right way.