Defy the "Conventional" in STEM
By Léa Montminy-Bergeron
In today’s age, it might seem as if almost everyone studying in STEM either aims to be a doctor or an engineer. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, many realize down the road that this career path is not for everyone or that it doesn’t align with their interests and life goals. There also seems to be some type of judgement floating around the air about career decisions - Everything is always competition! I am here to share 6 different STEM-related careers that are both interesting and necessary, while also not being a “Doctor” or “Engineer” of any kind. Let’s get started!
1. Professor and/or researcher
Professors teach and research whatever is in their field of interest and there is a wide variety of topics to choose from. Usually, it will be similar to what they studied in grad school but it is quite common for professors to teach first-year courses that aren’t completely relevant to their research. Professors are important since they shape future generations of students all over the world by sharing their knowledge and expertise while also guiding future career choices. They also perform research and are constantly on top of their game in our ever-changing world. If you are passionate about teaching but also performing experiments and participating in scientific discoveries, this profession might be for you! It also has great job security, which, let’s be honest, is pretty great!
2. Forensic science technician
Calling all Forensic Files lovers! Forensic scientists are in charge of reconstructing crime scenes by meticulously inspecting information and data collected by investigators and also conducting tests on the evidence that was found. Those who work in laboratories will use different machines and techniques to analyze evidence like microscopes, computers, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). As a tech, you are also able to specialize in a specific area of your choosing, such as ballistics, DNA, and fingerprints. Forensic science technicians are important since they do the work necessary to identify potential suspects in a police investigation. If you are also interested in criminology, this might be something to look into!
Biochemists study and research the complex chemical reactions occurring in all biological processes. They try to explain the causes of many diseases and suggest ways they can be cured or treated. Because biochemistry is a practical science, these scientists work in basic and applied research - Either to gain knowledge or to work directly towards solving a problem. Fields of studies include but are not limited to genetics, cancer, and diseases. If you like thinking critically, solving problems, and are curious, you might want to look more into this career path!
4. Computer and information research scientist
Now this one is for the computer geeks who love problem-solving! Scientists of this branch invent and design cutting edge technology and recycle older technology by finding new ways to use it. The work performed by computer and information research scientists has uses in various fields such as medicine, business, and science. Unlike biochemistry, this is more of a theoretical science than a practical one, and often leads to advancements. You would be performing difficult computer tasks that require complex algorithms, while also working on making them easier! If you have a passion for design, pay attention to details, and like making analysis, this might be for you.
Statisticians use mathematical techniques in order to analyze and interpret sets of data to eventually draw conclusions about their findings. They first determine the type and size of the sample to be surveyed and are then able to design surveys, opinion polls, and experiments to collect data. Based on the numbers in front of them, they can calculate averages, reliability and accuracy, while also indicating the limitations of the tests. Statisticians are important since they can identify trends and relationships in real-life scenarios. That stats class that’s mandatory to your major? Yes, it might be helpful! Individuals who pursue studies in this area are often curious, logical, and investigative. They also do well by themselves.
6. Ultrasound technician
Technicians are in charge of preparing the room and equipment to perform examinations, as well as assisting the radiologists as needed with non-invasive procedures. They should be able to recognize and record the appropriate anatomy and vascularities using their equipment. They also need to know when to get help - If any abnormalities show up, it is their duty to immediately alert medical staff. This is a flexible position since you are able to choose an area of specialization as well as a setting (e.g. hospitals, clinics, labs, etc.). You are also able to form connections with patients, as well as advocate for them! Sonographers, as they are commonly called, are energetic people who enjoy a fast-paced environment. This job is definitely not a boring one!
To wrap things up, I just wanted to get the word out about all the different aspects of STEM and how students aren’t limited to just two career paths. Once again, I want to emphasize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking of medicine or engineering! I just feel as if they are showcased way more than other professions, while not accurately representing science as a whole. Let’s find what really interests us, one “odd” job at a time!