Becoming a scientist can be an exciting and rewarding career path. Scientists are continuously pushing the boundaries of exploration leaving behind building blocks for future generations to seek new horizons, conquer new frontiers and empower others. If you are thinking about becoming a scientist we’ll cover a few steps that will help you in achieving that goal.
It probably goes without saying that if you’d like to become a scientist then a good start would be to take an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses in high school. If you‘re interested in becoming a scientist, courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus will probably find their way onto your schedule in future. These courses will provide a strong foundation in scientific principles and methods necessary for pursuing a career in science. In addition, if you are fortunate enough to attend a high school that provides AP (Advanced Placement) or IB (International Baccalaureate) courses for those subjects then those courses may also place you one step closer to your goal given the perks such as additional college credit, added preparation, higher acceptance rates, improved critical thinking skills, and a greater academic challenge just to name a few.
Ideally once in college, a student may have a general idea of where their specific interest might lie. An aspiring scientist can then focus on pursuing a degree in a field that aligns with their interest and career goals. Popular majors for aspiring scientists tend to include biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. These majors will generally provide students with a deeper understanding of the concepts and theories that underpin the scientific discipline they choose. Hands-on experience is also key. A college student can gain that experience through internships, research opportunities, or participation in scientific clubs and/or organizations. This experience will allow students to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting, build their skills, and make valuable connections in the scientific community.
If you would like to start your journey online then I recommend that you visit a few of these resources below.
- Science Olympiad: Science Olympiad is a national science competition for K-12 students that covers a wide range of scientific disciplines. Students can participate in individual or team events, and the competition provides opportunities to learn new scientific concepts and develop problem-solving skills.
- Intel International Science and Engineering Fair: The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is a prestigious science competition for high school students from around the world. Participants showcase their research projects in various scientific disciplines, and winners receive cash prizes and scholarships.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a free online learning platform that provides resources and tutorials in a variety of subjects, including math, science, and engineering. Students can use Khan Academy to learn new concepts and skills, prepare for exams, and explore their interests.
- Society for Science & the Public: The Society for Science & the Public is a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes STEM education for young people. They offer a variety of resources, including research opportunities, mentorship programs, and science competitions.
Diversity is also important. Attracting more women and minorities into scientific fields can ensure that the scientific community represents the diversity of the population that it serves. This is important because it brings in different perspectives, addresses societal issues, and reinforces representation. Innovative solutions can be discovered, disparities in underserved communities can be addressed, and young people are further inspired when they see scientists that look like them. This promotion of diversity in the scientific community is a win for everyone because it ensures that science is accessible to everyone.
If you need a little inspiration, checkout this video on mathematician and rocket scientist Katherine Johnson: