STEM is my dirty little secret

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I have a dirty little secret: while my degrees are in a "science" they're of the political variety. Given that, how is it that I work at a software company as a technology and analytics consultant?

The truth of the matter is while the diplomas read that I studied government, history and economics, most of my actual studies were in statistics, computer programming and mathematics. The reasons for this are very simple: regardless of what anyone studies, most of it is mixed with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) nowadays. I managed to take at least three courses in undergrad government on the scientific method and used a history paper that involved financial forecasting as my grad school writing sample. Neither of these examples are what one would typically expect in non-STEM majors, but more and more today the mixing of STEM and the humanities is emerging not only in the classroom but in the real world.

Even at SAS, the job I do would have been regaled to English majors long ago. "Text Analytics" sounds like a fancier way of saying "read this and find the themes," like I had to do all of the time in AP English. Sure, it's basically that, but it's driven by algorithms and statistics instead of by individuals reading everything. It's another great example of how STEM has merged with traditional humanities subjects in our lives.

Everything now has a STEM undercurrent running through to it. There's just no way around it in school or on the job - regardless of the career path that you take. That's why it's in your best interests to get started early. And one way to get started early is to attend meetings in your area to discuss STEM applications and ideas. SAS Users Groups are a great example of meetings where you can get help on STEM problems and learn more about the exciting things people are doing with STEM careers in non-traditional ways. Check out this listing of 2012 US events and scholarship opportunities.

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Jenn Sykes

Text Analytics Consultant, SAS

Jenn is a text analytics specialist at SAS. She deals with all kinds of customer problems and particularly enjoys the ones that let her mix in her academic interests of politics and time-series modeling.

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