The Coolest of the Cool (jobs, that is)

We talk a bit about our Cool Jobs campaign that we launched on our websites last fall. While we completely encourage everyone to take an hour, a day, a month to peruse all of these wonderful interviews, we thought that we would take a second to highlight a few of these wonderful professionals. All of these men and women offered incredible wisdom about how they landed their careers and how students might follow in their footsteps. But some of them offered really wonderful life stories and incredible insights into the struggles they faced or the dedication required of them…

And don’t forget that our STEM Works websites offers four different versions of these interviews containing questions aimed specifically for different age groups: Elementary, Middle School, High School, and Undergraduate. So if you really love one of these articles and want to show it to your students, group, or children, be sure to find the version that is best suited for them!

The Animal Kingdom IconAnimal Kingdom

Katrina McCauley always knew she wanted to work with animals, but the journey to becoming a Zookeeper wasn’t easy. McCauley, armed with the educational background and ability to promote herself, broke into zookeeping and has been building her relationship with Colo, the oldest gorilla in a zoo, ever since. Read more to learn how McCauley spends her days as a Zookeeper at the Columbus Zoo! Read article.

Extreme Weather IconExtreme Weather

Lightning struck when Dr. Josh Wurman landed on the Discovery Channel’s reality series Storm Chasers and the IMAX film Forces of Nature.  Dr. Wurman was joined by his colleague Dr. Karen Kosiba to discuss what life is really like as a meteorologist and tornado chaser. A fun fact about this interview is that it was literally conducted while these two storm chasers were en route to a site in their meteorology van.  Read article.

Medical Innovations IconMedical Innovations

After a chance introduction to the field of public health, Allison Brown caught the bug! She passed up medical school to become an epidemiologist and now travels the world for the CDC to solve some of the world’s biggest public health problems. Read on to see why Allison’s interests are contagious! Read article.

Robotics IconRobotics

Robots are not just a thing of science-fiction.  Robots are in places you might not expect, whether they are helping people around the house or traveling to Mars.  We caught up with Dr. Chris Jones, former Director of Research Advancement with iRobot to discuss the power of mentorship, the emerging market for robotics, and even “soft” robots!  Read article.

Space IconSpace

We couldn’t conduct an interview related to space without first going to world-renowned NASA! Luckily, we were able to speak with Carlie Zumwalt, who is one of NASA’s Flight Dynamics Engineers. So what was this girl who works for such a high-profile organization like? She was surprisingly humble, incredibly candid, and wonderfully addicted to hard work. Her article is definitely a must read. Read article.

Under the Sea IconUnder the Sea

Shannon Johnson, Deep-Sea Research Technician with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), described her job as like watching the Discovery Channel in real time. Shannon explores the oceans through the use of ROV’s, or Remote Operated Vehicles, and gets to discover new things about the ocean every day. Oh, and not to mention that her office is in one of the most beautiful coastal areas on the West coast… Read article.

Video Games IconVideo Games

Kelly Murphy, a Video Game Designer for Walt Disney, spends his time balancing tight deadlines for game releases while ensuring Disney games are exciting to play and keep gamers’ coming back for more. Read more to learn what makes a Video Game Designer such a cool jobs here.

Wind Energy IconWind Energy

At first glance this job might not seem very wind related… but it’s more wind related than you might think. After entering a Ph. D. program in aerospace engineering, the current of Jonathan Colby’s career swept him away from aerospace and toward renewable energy. Jonathan now works to turn the flow of New York’s East River into clean, renewable power. Read on to learn how blue water turns into green energy. Read article.

BeakerOther STEM Subjects

Because we are very aware that the wonderful world of STEM includes far more than the subjects above, we feature didn’t limit our interviews to these subjects alone. One of the professionals featured in this section is green chemist Dr. John Warner. Many products in our world today are made with toxic materials. Now, picture a world without toxins – no pollution, no hazardous materials, and no harmful products. Green Chemists, like John Warner PhD, are working to make this dream a reality. Learn what makes Dr. Warner’s work not only important to us, but critical for generations to come. Read article.

Apps help put the “T” in “STEM”

It is hardly news that modern technology has given us access to a breadth of knowledge at a moment’s notice. With organizations and corporations around the world adopting these modern technologies, we are seeing a wider variety of smart phone and tablet apps that give the world access to whole new realms of information and knowledge.  Check out the apps listed below to get some of this knowledge in the palm of your hand!

Aspire Institute’s STEM AppWe had the opportunity to contribute a CSI activity to the STEM App launched by the Aspire Institute this spring. The goal of this app is to provide a daily STEM activity that parents and kids can do together. Aspire wrote a wonderful blog post about this app last April, so rather than reading our second-hand version of this post, you can check it out here!

 

NASA App for Android and iOSJust when we thought NASA couldn’t get any cooler… The NASA app gives you VIP access to tons of NASA content, including images, videos, NASA television, mission information, news, satellite tracking and much more! And here’s the best part… it’s free!

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“Solve the Outbreak” iPad App from the CDCThanks to a follow-up email from Allison Brown, our CDC contact and Cool Jobs professional, we were recently made aware of the CDC’s new “Solve the Outbreak” iPad app. Many jobs are emerging in the field of public health, and this app gives teens and young adults a glimpse into the life of a working epidemiologist. In this interactive, engaging app, you get to decide what to do: Do you quarantine the village? Talk to the people who are sick? Ask for more lab results? Get the app to learn about diseases and outbreaks in an engaging way. Oh yeah, it’s free too.

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Are you looking for a certain type of STEM app but can’t seem to find it? Do you know a technologically-minded student? Why not have that student make the app? Organizations like CoderDojo and TekStart teach students how to develop apps through the use of code. If you know a technologically-minded student who wants to get into coding, check to see if there is an organization like this in your city. After all, there can never be enough STEM-related apps!