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 57,900 jobs a year for graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, or the environment, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And the department says the current projected number of graduates is only enough to fill 60 percent of those jobs.
About 27 percent of those jobs will be in STEM disciplines, as opposed to half in management or business. Jobs in sustainable food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, while 12 percent of the total will be in education, communication, and governmental services, the department projects.
Many schools, particularly state universities, have agriculture programs. The USDA maintains a list of sustainable agricultural programs at colleges and universities throughout the country as well as nutrition programs.
The USDA site is also a good place to start your search for agricultural scholarships.
So if you’re a STEM kid who likes to garden, or who just likes to eat, think about all the knowledge that went into growing that apple in your lunch and explore the possibilities.