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What is STEM?
Why is there an interest in STEM?
What careers are possible in STEM?
Why should you begin your STEM education at Centralia College?
What financial support is available for students pursuing STEM education pathways at Centralia College?

 

What is STEM?  STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Workers in STEM occupations use science and math to solve problems.  Science includes Chemistry, Physics, Earth Sciences, and Biological Sciences.  Technology focuses on Information Technology, including Computer Science.  Engineering includes Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and, Mechanical Engineering.  Math includes Modeling, Analysis, and Statistics.

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Why is there an interest in STEM?  Across the country, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of STEM occupations in improving the quality of our lives and solving current problems.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job growth in these areas will exceed the national average;  this reflects the increasing importance of STEM skills in the global economy and anticipated replacement of retiring workers.  On average, STEM workers earn 70% more than the average U.S. worker;  among STEM occupations, STEM workers with more education generally earn more.  The federal and state governments, private industry and foundations, and colleges and universities are committed to increase the number of trained workers in STEM occupations.  Yes, they mean YOU.

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What careers are possible in STEM?  While it is customary to think of scientists in white lab-coats manipulating beakers and test tubes in a lab, many STEM researchers spend most of their working days outdoors or in offices.  If you are a geoscientist, you might find yourself at Mt. St. Helen measuring movements at a fault or as a forest biologist, you may be monitoring the progress of bark-beetle infestations in the Rockies.  On the other hand, as an actuary or computer scientist, you are likely to work in an office environment with a powerful computer and network at your fingertips.   You can find more information on the diversity of STEM careers at www.WOIS.org or this article from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Why should you begin your STEM education at Centralia College?  At Centralia College, your STEM education occurs in a state-of-the-art facility, augmented by $1 million in new equipment, and taught by experienced faculty whose number 1 priority is teaching you: not writing grants, not supervising graduate students.  STEM classes at Centralia College are taught in small groups, typically 15 – 30 students, who will work together through a year-long sequence.  Your instructors teach both lectures and labs, ensuring connections between theory and practice and fostering personal connections with their students.  Why begin your college STEM education in a class of 500+ students where you can barely see the professor at the front of a huge lecture hall and the professor never knows your name?  Earn your associate degree with us and transfer to a baccalaureate institution for your bachelor’s degree.  Centralia College students who transfer to baccalaureate institutions have a HIGHER average grade point average at their baccalaureate institution than do students who start their college educations at a baccalaureate institution.  Quality, convenience, cost - for this decision, you do not need to be a rocket scientist (or wish to be one).

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What financial support is available for students pursuing STEM education pathways at Centralia College?  Centralia College has dedicated funds to support students interested in beginning their STEM education at Centralia College. In 2010, Centralia College was awarded a 5-year, $475,000 grant ("A Rising Tide: Lifting STEM Education in Southwest Washington") from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide STEM scholarships. Beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year, the NSF STEM scholars program and the Centralia College Foundation (CCF) STEM scholars program will be combined; for 2011-2012, almost $100,000 will be available to support STEM scholars. Additional funds are available to support student travel to visit research labs, attend scientific conferences, and to visit potential transfer universities and to support student research projects. The NSF grant also support the "Rising Tide Science Seminar Series" which brings scientists and engineers to speak at Centralia College.

If your long term goal is a career in biological sciences, physics, chemistry, earth sciences, astronomy, mathematics, engineering, science education, or computer and information sciences, you should apply for a CCF / NSF STEM scholarship. Due to restrictions of the grant, students whose career goals include human medicine, veterinary medicine, nursing, physical / occupational therapy, dentistry, dental hygiene, and other clinical fields are not eligible. Both new and continuing students who wish to pursue science degrees (Associate in Science, Associate in Biology, Associate in Arts with emphasis in Mathematics) are invited to apply for a STEM scholarship. Applicants must be citizens of the United States or eligible non-citizens. You must plan to be enrolled full time (12 or more credits per quarter). You must submit a FAFSA to the Financial Aid office. Entering high school students should have earned a minimum of 3.0 in pre-Calculus; continuing Centralia College students should have earned a minimum of 2.5 in pre-Calculus (Math& 151) or a higher math course. Your completed application will consist of two letters of recommendation (at least one should be from a science or math teacher / professor), copies of your high school transcript and an official transcript for any college-level credits not earned at Centralia College, and a personal essay. In your essay, describe why you feel you are a good fit for the career that you wish to pursue. To begin the online application process go to the Centralia College Scholarship homepage. If you have questions about the CCF / NSF STEM scholarship program, contact Dr. Steve Norton, director of the STEM Scholars Program.

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