Brandon St. Germain studies engineering at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, ME.
Why did you choose to participate in a STEM program?
Math and science have always been my favorite subjects. Math and science studies provide me with great challenge, they’re intriguing, and have helped me hone my skills as a problem-solver. At Maine Maritime Academy, Thermodynamics has been my favorite class. I found it fascinating to study the properties of different substances, how they react under different temperatures and pressures, and their practical applications for our lives.
How did you decide which STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) field was right for you?
Deciding to go with the engineering field seemed to fit me the best because I love to work with my hands. Taking things apart and putting them back together comes naturally to me.
What is a typical day like in your STEM experience?
I’m a member of the regiment, so a typical Monday starts with regimental muster at 7:15 a.m., when the regimental students gather for attendance. (My major, Marine Engineering Operations, which leads to a U.S. Coast Guard engineering license, requires participation in the regiment.) My first class, Macroeconomics, begins at 9 a.m. That’s followed by Power Control Electronics class, where we’re learning about diodes, resistors and semiconductors, and building circuit boards. From there, I go to Marine Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, which covers components of refrigerants and operating a refrigeration plant. Automation class starts at noon; right now, we are studying PLCs, or Programmable Logic Controls. My fourth class of the day is Pollution Control and Remediation. We have a regimental meeting at 4 p.m., and then it’s dinner time. I’m usually home by about 8 or 9 p.m. and I do homework for two to three hours each night.
What has been the most memorable moment of your STEM program?
To me, the most memorable experience was my freshman year training cruise on the 500-foot training ship, State of Maine. It was my first time leaving the United States, and my first ocean crossing. We made port stops in Ireland and Belgium. I enjoyed the hands-on experience, and it gave me a chance to preview what my career would be like at sea.
What advice do you have for teens looking at STEM degrees and/or career paths?
My advice would be to always work hard for your dreams. Take advantage of any college credits you can take in high school so you can be ahead when you go to college.