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Date: October 18, 2012

Students learn about technical careers through STEM outreach

Students learn about technical careers through STEM outreach
A chemical engineer from Picatinny spoke to students about her professional experiences.

By the ARDEC STEM Office

PICATINNY ARSENAL, NJ -- As part of an effort to promote interest in technical careers, a chemical engineer from Picatinny Arsenal recently met with students to answer questions and convey a flavor of what it's like to be an engineer.

Meredith Nolin of the Pyrotechnics Technology and Prototyping Division visited the New Jersey Institute of Technology to participate as a guest panelist for the Women in Engineering and Technology Initiative-FEMME8.

The program focuses on college readiness for high school students. It provides academic preparation, supportive networks, counseling, and the information and experiences necessary for post-secondary education. The theme of the 2012 program is biomedical engineering.

The Women in Engineering and Technology Initiative--FEMME8 program is NJIT's curriculum for UNITE, a four to six week, pre-collegiate summer program for talented high school students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The UNITE program fosters the preparation of high school students to pursue a college education in engineering. It is coordinated by the Technology Student Association (TSA) and funded by the U.S. Army.

The curriculum includes advanced mathematics, language arts and communications, computer applications and multi-media, problem-solving, and college success skills that are needed for future engineering courses.

Students also learn to clarify and map their academic and professional goals by expanding their knowledge about STEM majors and career opportunities.

The goals of the technology initiative are to enhance students' mathematics and science achievement while developing their skills in problem solving and critical thinking.

The program also encourages students to pursue advanced mathematics and science placement courses in high school, as well as maintain their interest in STEM fields. It also promotes students to learn about careers and pursue studies in STEM, fields in which minorities and women are traditionally under-represented.

The recent gathering at NJIT included a question and answer panel consisting mostly of female engineers who are civilians and active duty officers.

Nolin answered questions from 25 pre-high school girls about her educational and professional experiences as a female chemical engineer. She also offered suggestions on how to meet the challenges of STEM educations and careers with tenacity and enthusiasm.