Updated 10/22/2012 11:00 PM
BU students take part in Arduino Exposition
Despite 7.8 percent of the nation being unemployed, educators said there's a need to fill science, engineering, technology and math jobs across the county. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, professors at Binghamton University are giving students the tools they need to succeed in those jobs.
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VESTAL, N.Y. -- It takes energy, it takes creativity and it takes time, but students at Binghamton University say it's well worth it.
"Engineering is a great field to go into. It takes a lot of work, but the outcome is so rewarding. Right now I can’t explain how happy I am that my project is working,” said Jeffrey Mena, BU sophomore.
Ninety-nine teams of students worked together to tackle one of 13 different projects, many of which were interactive objects from robots to clocks that play the game pong and more.
"We have for you today is the LED cube, we worked on it, it was a pretty difficult project,
but we worked as a team and it came together nicely,” said Jacob Weistien, BU freshman.
Organizers said that kind of interest in STEM is a very good thing for the job market.
They say hands-on projects like those at BU are good tools for learning the basics.
“It’s a very tight schedule they have to work with. They have to order parts, figure out what parts they need, get it all delivered, built and troubleshoot it,” said Koen Gieskes, Watson School Lab Coordinator. “That’s something many of them haven’t had before. It’s very much about project management and time management."
A recently released study from Change the Equation shows there are almost four unemployed workers for every job in the country, but when it comes to STEM fields, the numbers are almost opposite, with two jobs for every one person out of work. Organizers at BU tout the half-semester long project as a chance to teach students the skills they need to fill STEM jobs.
"Even though they are the technology generation, every project here today has their own unique challenges,” said Sharon Fellows, BU Assistant Director of Engineering and Design. “They’ve all struggled, but mostly been successful as well. It’s nice to see them struggle over that difficulty, work through it and they’re very proud of what they’ve accomplished."
And those lessons of time management, teamwork and problem solving will all help them be successful in the future. According to the National Center on Education Statistics, STEM students make up only 16 percent of college graduates.