How to discover if STEM is for you

August 22nd, 2023

Are you intrigued by the wonders of science, captivated by technological advancements, fascinated by clever design, or enticed by puzzles?

If so, a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) might be just for you.     

Alexandra Clarke, education content specialist at CSIRO, advises high school students to follow their interests when selecting subjects, even if they seem challenging.

Alexandra Clarke, education content specialist and Emma Krantz, software engineer, at a student careers day

“The point of learning is to improve, and if you’re interested in the content, you’ll have the drive to learn more and succeed,” she says.

She further notes that school is a unique and safe place to explore and work out what students like and what they might be interested in. Electives are a great place to do some of this exploring.     

“Engineering, for example, might sound quite technical, but you might be surprised at how much creativity is involved,” she says.   

Figuring out if STEM is the right path requires exploration, curiosity and time. Here are several ways to get you started.   

Embrace Curiosity and Explore

Curiosity is key to uncovering your interests and talents. Engage in hands-on activities, explore science museums or open days, participate in coding camps, or attend STEM-related workshops.

You can also check out the events section at your local library or chat with your teachers and family about their STEM experiences.  

Getting involved will help you see and understand different STEM disciplines, allowing you to discover your passion.

Also, look for online resources, such as YouTube, TED Talks or educational websites, to expand your knowledge and ignite your curiosity.    

Take part in STEM Activities  

Join science clubs, robotics teams, or coding groups. Take part in science fairs and competitions to challenge yourself. You can also consider volunteering or interning at STEM businesses to see how these skills are used in the real world.

These activities will offer a glimpse into what STEM looks like outside the classroom.  

Seek Mentors and Role Models   

Look for mentors and role models who inspire you. Check out platforms like GiST to read about STEM professionals. Connect with teachers or adults who use STEM in their jobs. Their insights can provide helpful advice and encouragement.

Figuring out if STEM is the right path requires exploration and curiosity. Engaging in hands-on activities, seeking guidance from mentors, and reflecting on your own strengths and interests are important steps in making a decision.

As you try different STEM activities, you’ll notice what captures your interest.

You might love solving problems, experimenting with science, or working on digital projects. These experiences will help you discover your unique talents and preferences.

So, as you navigate your teenage years, keep in mind that exploring your interests in STEM is a way to discover more about yourself and build a path that brings you happiness and purpose. The journey is ongoing.

Use resources like the The Gist Quiz | The GiST to help you think about your interests and find STEM study areas and careers that might be a good fit for you.