When people think of the term “humanitarian”, it doesn’t always conjure up images of scientists and engineers. But it should. If you were to skim recent headlines relating to some of the world’s biggest problems—disease, poverty, starvation, environmental degradation—you would find that the STEM subjects do, or could, play a major role.
Take Bill Gates, for example. This technology icon is now finding ways to incorporate his skillset to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health concerns. As he explains in this video, diseases like polio and malaria can benefit from advances in science and technology.
More and more it seems that people are picking up on the fact that the STEM subjects will provide solutions to many of the problems our modern-day world is now facing. Academic programs are popping up in universities around the world that are devoted to finding these solutions. One such program is at the newly founded Center for Urban Science and Progress located in downtown Brooklyn. According to this article,
“CUSP hopes to become the world’s leading authority on ‘urban informatics’ — the acquisition and analysis of an enormous amount of information related to city systems. The center ascribes to the belief that “big data” will one day make all city operations and planning more efficient. That’s critical to what Koonin calls the center’s ‘mission-driven’ focus: to study city problems, yes, but also to solve them.”
Our own Cool Jobs professionals echoed the same sentiment regarding the problem-solving nature of STEM. Whether you’re a 3D designer helping to develop clean energy solutions, a green chemist working toward a world without toxins, a LEED engineer designing buildings that require less energy use, or a statistician helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing health concerns, one thing is for sure… the world needs you!
So the next time you think about how you can leave a positive imprint on the world, look to the STEM fields for help. What are some of your favorite ways that science, technology, engineering, or math are helping to solve the problems of individuals, communities, societies, or the environment?