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If I'm considering a career in a math or technology related field, what can I do as a high school student to gain experience and further my knowledge on these fields?

I'm currently a junior in high school and have participated in multiple tech related extra-curricular activities. I'm also currently taking multiple STEM related courses at school. #technology #engineering #mathmajor

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Jessie C. Thanks so much for your awesome question! I'm all about sharing on things that we can do to get or be better in STEM!

I share that the "ground floor" to getting better in STEM-related fields is how you perform academically. It is great that you are taking STEM related courses in school. In terms of what you could possibly do there, consider ensuring that your grades in these spaces are the best they can be. If they are, that is great for many reasons one of which is that you are taking the time to provide long-term investment in yourself ;). If there are areas where you can improve, make a plan and take the steps to improve. In general terms, making improvement plans and executing on them is a practice that will serve you well in both your college and career journeys.

I am of the opinion that you can use math and technology just about anywhere...another way that you can utilize STEM concepts (that you have either learned in your courses or elsewhere), would be to try applying STEM concepts in a volunteer environment. There are a wide variety of spaces where you could apply these concepts. Think tutoring or STEM-related crafts where participants could build things. If you are into coding, or maybe graphic design, think designing websites...or T-shirts! If you could find ways to demonstrate your STEM chops, your leadership capabilities and how you positively impact the communities you participate in, I suspect you will find that you not only gain great experience but you will have a good time doing it.

Best of luck to you!

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Christen’s Answer

Consider familiarizing yourself with Statistics and Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence . . .
One way to do this would be browse through or "audit" free online courses, like the ones offered through Coursera.

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Andy’s Answer

Hi Jessie,

First, I think Nicole makes a lot of great points so I'll try to add some different tips here.

Stay and focus on your natural curiousity. Just asking questions, seeking out new learning opportunities, listening and thinking and doing and experimenting with different subjects, topics, and areas of interest should you continue to develop a path into the areas of STEM which align to your own unique skills and interests. I'd suggest to "don't worrry" too much about which specific career title may or may be "ideal" for you yet. The more "expansive" and wide-reaching you can explore, the more options you will start to see for how you could take your interest in STEM forward through high school, through college and ultimately into some career pathway. As you explore and follow your natural curiousities, I'd also suggest a combination of how and with you you explore those interests. I"m not sure if you are a natural introvert of extrovert and enjoy talking with a lot of different people or spending more time alone, but will suggest that a combination strategy could be a great approach. What do I mean: for example, don't be shy and instead consider talking with almost anyone in your life who is accessible and may have some role or experience in STEM: obviously teachers, but maybe parents of friends, or even people you meet out in the world - even if you ask them like one question (what was the most boring thing you did today in your job; what was the most interesting thing you did in your job this week, etc). In the business world, we call this networking: simply, talking to a lot of people to gain perspective and develop relationships. Also, I do encourage solo self exploration: whether that is something physical like a "science kit" you use at home or online/virtual. And, then a combination of exploring your curiosity with others and then on your own, that diversity should help you develop skills and further grow your capabilities to be successful at a wide range of possible future STEM job-roles.


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Priya’s Answer

Hi Jessie - you've already received a lot of great responses from the folks above. So I will just add a few more thoughts here as well. There are a lot of virtual tools and trainings available to further your understanding of math/technology and STEM related discussions online. You may look at some online classes from different virtual schools and take a class/lesson you are particularly interested in.

And beyond that, it's really great advice to see if you can get some hands-on experience with some STEM programs. Maybe there are some looking for volunteers where you can help. Volunteering at a Library, a local recreation center, a neighborhood family-owned business to help with their technology needs could be a great way to get involved and learn more.