Every single day, STEM professionals wake up and head to jobs that keep the world afloat. From software engineers to marine biologists, these people apply their extensive expertise and knowledge of the various STEM fields to an incredibly vast array of jobs that help lead the way to new discoveries and innovations.
Before these professionals were running the world, however, they were once young and impressionable. Through the assistance of various mentors and influences, these people were encouraged to develop their strengths and foster their passions into full-fledged careers.
Read more to learn about what or who inspired some of the coolest professionals out there to turn their love of STEM into an absolute reality.
On land or in the sea, these biologists turned a love of animals and wildlife into lifelong careers. Don’t believe it’s possible? Then ask Dr. Kenneth Krysko, a herpetologist and professor at the University of Florida, who was inspired to pursue a career in herpetology after meeting Dr. Roy Crabtree, a fish biologist who helped him realize that it was possible to find jobs for people who didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day. Amy Eggers is another scientist who merged her passions for marine biology and genetics into one amazing career as the laboratory manager at the Hawaiian Institute of Marine Biology. When asked about who inspired her, Eggers credits Tanya Vickers, a biology professor at the University of Utah, who provided her with encouragement and support, as well as assisting Eggers with her first laboratory job.
For many, video games are a form of entertainment. As a video game designer for Disney, Kelly Murphy’s job is to ensure that gamers enjoy the entertainment enough that they come back for more. Murphy was inspired to pursue a career in video game design by a childhood friend, as well as Shigeru Miyamoto and Yugi Naka, the creators of Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog, respectively. Murphy liked that both Miyamoto and Naka took real-life passions and re-envisioned them into the virtual worlds they created.
Carlie Zumwalt shot for the stars to land her dream job, and as a flight dynamics engineer for NASA, it’s clear that she succeeded. Now, Zumwalt is hoping to send others into space as well, with particular aims to one day land a human on Mars. When asked about who inspired her, Zumwalt gives credit to her parents and her high school physics teacher, Ms. Warden for being supportive and encouraging her to be ambitious with her goals.
From the looks of it, mentors come in all ages, shapes and sizes. Yet, one thing is certain: without guidance and encouragement, these STEM professionals would not become the great scientists and intellectual beings that they are today. Thus, the future of STEM lies in the hands of parents and teachers who are willing to support and expound their knowledge in a way that excites new generations into exploring careers in STEM. So go out there today, STEM teachers or STEM parents, and be an encourager or supporter for that new generation of STEM lovers.