On May 8th, in recognition of Georgia STEM Day, I went to Benjamin E. Mays High School in southwest Atlanta and spoke to three of Mr. Anderson’s Engineering classes about my current job here at Burton Energy Group and how it relates to their current STEM classes. Due to freshmen testing, I only had the pleasure to talk to classes with a healthy mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors. After completing a round of sharing, where I had each student share with me their favorite class and also the class they felt was a waste of time (they loved answering the latter, by the way), this group of future doctors, lawyers, and engineers watched me stumble over while attempting to prove that AP European History will be used in their future STEM careers. It was much easier for me to prove the importance of Physics, Chemistry, and Trigonometry and also their importance in everyday life ranging from cooking to playing football and basketball. As a data analyst I’m looking at numbers all the time, so it was easy to discuss how I apply concepts from each of their math classes. We discussed how I need to be ready to use concepts from algebra, statistics, and calculus on any given day and how even the most rich and famous need to have an idea about number and not trust solely in their accountants.
We also talked about college: how it’s different from high school; what to look forward to; who and what to stay away from; and good study habits. But the students were interested in the social scene and the amount of party’s that take place on and around a college campus. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to discuss this due to my lack of party experiences…I did warn them though, that although non-STEM majors tend have more free time, STEM majors will still have a fair share of time on their hands too and to manage it wisely.
Georgia STEM Day-May 8, 2015
The level of questions asked show that they love to learn are very much invested in controlling their future. Additionally, the projects they’ve worked on and shared with me prove the future of STEM is in good hands. Recently, a group presented their designs at Georgia Tech for sustainable housing in Haiti by re-purposing cargo containers into dwellings (very green!). These were designed using the professional designing software, Autodesk Revit, and then physically produced by the student for the exhibition. Other projects shared with me included hover board design and creation that could hold the weight of an adult, website development with Weebly, and smaller design projects using Autodesk Inventor. They also used a 3-D printer in class and designed cell phone cases, but that seemed too much fun to be considered work. I was very impressed with the range and relevance of projects that had been successfully completed in the 2014-2015. On the other hand, I was disappointed to learn that the APS school system is behind in mandating the offering of computer science classes in all of their middle and high schools. My goal was to encourage and teach these kids about STEM, but I actually learned from them as well. The namesake of this school was a titan in Atlanta’s education community as the former president of Morehouse College and later serving on Atlanta’s Board of Education in the same role. These students are indeed keeping Dr. Mays legacy intact. I’m looking forward to working with Mr. Anderson and his classes in the future outside of just STEM and career days.
Georgia STEM Day-May 8, 2015