TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Susan Moeller

Susan Moeller-profile-picture

Susan Moeller is a former newspaper editor and reporter who has directed education coverage as well as written about schools and children. She lives on Cape Cod, has three children and is a veteran of the boarding school and college search process.

Posted Jan. 31, 2017, 12:14 p.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments

Let’s be practical. It’s great to be a student interested in science, technology, engineering and math, but where will the jobs be when you’re ready to step into the workforce? The good news, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is that many STEM occupations are projected to grow faster than the average. The government expects overall STEM employment (excluding health care) to grow about 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. That’s about 2 percent better than the rate overall. Health-care jobs add another big share. As many as 25 percent of all jobs will be in health care by ...

Posted Aug. 3, 2016, 11:09 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
7 Steps to Finding a Great High School Tutor

It’s no longer a stigma to ask for extra help. Almost 65 percent of students in one Dallas suburban school district used a tutor or received after-school coaching in the classroom, according to a 2011 study reported in D magazine. “Sometimes kids ask for it, sometimes parents,” says Libby Sassano, a private tutor in the Ridgefield, Conn., area, who works with high school students. “Parents know when the grades start to go down or when their kids are really stressed out.” Our experts say a tutor or coach can build the confidence so critical to success, whether it’s in a ...

Posted June 28, 2016, 9 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
 10 Things I Learned When My Kids Took Gap Years

There are lots of reasons for your child to take a gap year. He’s worn out just from getting into college and needs a break before buckling down again. She needs more maturity to handle independence. He’s struggling with academics and needs to learn to manage time. She wants to find out if she really wants to be a veterinarian. As a parent, I’m a big fan of gap years or semesters before college. Two of my three children took a gap year, for reasons that were both similar and quite different. Both had been in boarding school and really ...

Posted April 11, 2016, 9:35 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
STEM From Dance for Girls

Love STEM? Love Dance? Here’s How to Combine the Two Yamilée Toussaint thinks she might have answer to help young women push through the difficulties of thriving in the world of STEM: dance. Toussaint is the founder of STEM from Dance, a New York City-based nonprofit that uses dance to support middle- and high-school girls in science, technology, engineering and math. Girls in the program work together to choreograph a dance and use computer coding to synchronize digital visuals. The process builds confidence, teaches STEM skills as well as problem solving and collaboration, and helps the girls support each other, ...

Posted March 30, 2016, 10:21 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
stem teen science mathematics sustainability agriculture medical gap

If you’re a STEM student, you’ve probably been working hard. No one likes to get behind in a course involving science, technology, engineering or math. So this might be the time to think about what happens after high school graduation - not about college but about not going to college. It’s not crazy talk. A gap year or semester away from a traditional classroom might be a reset button for your brain or just the thing to kick-start the next phase of your life. You can network, gain hands-on work lab experience, or even learn a language that would help ...

Posted March 18, 2016, 9 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
How Your STEM Career Could be Down on the Farm

Thinking about a STEM career? Think about that apple in your lunch. Science has long been a part of food production. Thomas Jefferson, for example, used science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to demonstrate that contour plowing works better to hold water along hillsides than straight horizontal rows. You could be a food scientist, a crop production specialist, an educator in sustainable growing methods, an animal-breeding expert, a farmer – all jobs that rely on STEM. You could explore nutrition, greenhouse emissions, off-shore aquaculture, animal breeding or forest management. Between now and 2020, there is expected to be an average of ...

Posted Feb. 22, 2016, 10:59 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
What ‘The Martian’ Says About STEM Might Surprise You

If you’ve seen “The Martian,” you know that the solution to being stranded on Mars by yourself without enough food or water is to “science the (expletive) out of it.” In fact, the BBC called the movie (based on the book by Andy Weir) a “love letter to science” – and it’s hard to believe that Matt Damon’s Oscar nomination won’t boost interest in ­high school and college STEM programs. ?There’s plenty of actual science in the movie (some of it enhanced because, well, it’s a movie) but if you aren’t too bewitched by Damon’s impish humor or feats of ...

Posted Dec. 30, 2015, 9 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
How to Combine STEM and Community Service

Download Want to combine your interest in science, technology, engineering and/or math with helping others? We looked around for some community service ideas that might put your STEM skills to work. 1. Think old. Is there council on aging or senior citizens center in your town that needs technology tutors? Yes, older people are more technologically savvy these days but that doesn’t mean people aren’t sometimes overwhelmed by, say, a new phone with multiple apps and security settings. Some senior centers have times that people can bring in tablets or phones for tutorials. See if they need another volunteer expert. ...

Posted Dec. 21, 2015, 9 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
How Caddy Jobs Can Lead to Scholarships

It’s not a plan that would seem to be intuitive: Get money for college by hanging out at the golf course. Especially if you’ve never played golf. But that’s what worked for Joanna Hernandez, now a freshman chemistry major at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. Hernandez, 18, is from the south part of Chicago. Four years ago, she didn’t know the difference between a putter and a driver and had never set foot on a golf green. Now, she’s one of 910 golf caddies receiving full-ride scholarships this year thanks to the Chick Evans Scholarship from the Western Golf Association ...

Posted Nov. 17, 2015, 9 a.m. by Susan Moeller | View Comments
Like to cook? Maybe you’re a STEM kid after all.

You might dismiss your ability to whip up the best chocolate cookies ever, or create a mind-blowing mac and cheese as not having anything to do with science, technology engineering and math. But if you like cooking, you might have the right kind of brain to delve into subjects you thought were only nerd-worthy. Or, perhaps a dose of science will make your culinary creations even more amazing. What are the hints that your chef skills would translate to STEM? - You like to experiment. Want those cookies a little lighter? What happens when you add more baking soda? Did ...

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