Louisiana New Tech @ Plain Dealing is guiding its students through the pathways of life by exploring career options of the 21st century.
All middle and high school students participated in a first ever STEM Day, a fun and informative way of introducing educational and business opportunities in Louisiana. The day-long event was filled with activities and presentations from local and state-wide industry professionals.
STEM Day was the result of the need to raise standards, nationally and locally, in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Key note speakers from Louisiana Tech, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, University of Louisiana Lafayette, McNeese State University and Schlumberger were invited to the school Friday to address the demand for STEM-related careers in today's job market.
Dr. Terrence Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said it's important for students to find a career they are passionate about.
“It's not just about getting a job, it's about getting the job you want,” Chambers said. “It should be something that excites you and makes you want to get out of bed every morning.”
That's exactly the kind of job Ron Storms and Wiwin Yuliana found with Schlumberger, the nation's leading oilfield services provider. Students were able to go inside a real Schlumberger seismic measurement vehicle, which holds the equipment and technology to measure earthquake activity.
“These students have an advantage because they aren't looking at photos in a book,” Storms said. They are experiencing a piece of our industry in real time.”
Students not only learned about business and education, but about making the right choices in life as well. Judea Goins-Andrews, director of pre-college programs for the College of Engineering at LSU Baton Rouge, said important life decisions begin well before leaving high school.
“Graduation is not the goal,” she said. “Your goal is to make like count and achieve a fulfilling career that will give you the lifestyle you want.”
New Tech student Heaven Jackson said she's put a lot of thought into what she wants to be when she grows up. In order to achieve her dreams, Jackson said she is focused on getting an education and making the necessary choices to get her there.
“I want to join the military and help others get their lives in order,” the sixth grader said with a smile. “I want to be the best that I can be.”
Chambers encouraged students to get a head start on their college transition by getting more involved in dual enrollment courses and activities offered through the school system. An example, he said, is participating in a professional organization, networking with those professionals and volunteering.
“You have to start somewhere and work your way up,” Chambers said. “These aren't just opportunities you get anywhere.”