STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at the University of Washington

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[Hilary] Nice to meet you.
[Narrator] Hilary and Pamela are about to have an adventure.
[Pamela] This is our room.
[Hilary] Oh, okay. Room number 17. They're heading out from the University of Washington for three weeks at sea.
[Hilary] Jeez!
[Narrator] This is a research ship, and they'll be studying underwater volcanoes known as "black smokers."
[Hilary] It should be really interesting to see.
[Veronique] It's very exciting because it's still an environment that's not very well known; it's also very exciting because there's still an exploratory aspect to the work that we do.
[Narrator] This deep sea research involves a team of geologists, oceanographers, chemists, and physicists. And biologists, too, because there's some cool life around those volcanoes.
[Veronique] We are continuously making new discoveries, because this is really still a frontier on our planet that we don't understand very well.
[Narrator] And that's one of the things that makes science exciting.
[Pat] The thrill of discovery, and that involves a lot of fun things. It involves working with really smart people, in kind of a team-based setting oftentimes; and there's an adrenalin rush associated with it, where you think, you know, you've made a big breakthrough or you're on the path to a breakthrough.
[Narrator] Or, you could design something that makes a major impact.
[Susanna] Maybe I'll help Microsoft make software or something; build it, design it, you know.
[Gene] It's the adventuresome life. Science and engineering are for those that have the adventuresome spirit. I got to work on the space shuttle design. I was one of the designers of the F-14. I'm very proud of that. Yes, it was hard work. But it was like going to work and seeing an adventure everyday.
[Narrator] That's what Dalia Chavez hopes to do. She's planning to major in electrical engineering, because she wants to create things.
[Dalia] Yeah, that's the kind of science I want to do. I don't want to just sit at a...you know...somewhere and just watch; I want to do something where I can, actually, you know, use my hands to fix something. Design something.
[Narrator] At the University of Washington, she might design something that actually sells.
[Deirdre] That's something that happens a lot in engineering, is that students and faculty come up with inventions that then we pursue those with our office of technology transfer, and some of them get patented and licensed and used by other companies for commercialization purposes.
[Narrator] And once you're out on your own, you could make a ton of money.
[Pat] People in science and engineering do very well when it comes to salary from a lot of different angles. They make a very good salary to begin with, and they're working usually in higher tech companies and industries where stocks do very well.
[Narrator] You could do research, start your own business, or work for one of the hottest technology companies. For some students, like Fred Stephens, science is all about helping people. That's why he's planning to go into medicine.
[Fred] It's just something that I've always wanted to do from when I was a little kid, I had the little doctor kit and everything, and I've always been interested in science, so coming to the biology department was something that fit me perfectly.
[Narrator] Fred's a freshman at the University of Washington. He chose the UW because it's close to home and because of its reputation. The University of Washington is a leading edge university. It has more research funding than any other public school, and it's ranked with the very best universities in the country. A degree from the UW has prestige, and it gives an advantage when it's time to apply for graduate school or start a career.
[Gene] These students that come to the University of Washington, earn their bachelor's degree, find out that it's worth so much. The very top engineering and science companies come here. They don't go to every school, but they come to the University of Washington.
[Narrator] Summer internships at the UW give you a jump on college. And you might get a better idea of what you'd really like to do.
[Fred] The internships are important because it gives us a hands-on feel in the lab, something that we've never really experienced. Like people always say they want to do something, but you don't really know what it is until you've done it, and the internships give us really, really good hands-on experience in our fields.
[Narrator] The University of Washington offers summer internships in science, technology, engineering, and math. These STEM internships are available to students in high school or community college, and also to UW freshmen or sophomores. Interns do research at the university or work in local companies. Workshops and seminars help build their skills.
[Ashley] I thought that like chemistry, there's so much stuff happening all the time, especially like medical, and so maybe get into that and research, and this is like a major research university, and I just thought it would be a really good way to get introduced to the different fields and things.
[Student] This could be our lunch for today [Student] Ewww.
[Music]
[Narrator] STEM internships are open to any student interested in science, technology, engineering, or math. And that includes people with disabilities. Today's technology has made so many careers in those fields possible. Imke Durre, who is blind, is just finishing graduate school and heading for a career in atmospheric science.
[Imke] At about age 12 or so I decided that maybe I should go into something related to weather. And it never changed.
[Narrator] At the UW, the Disabled Student Services Office is available to help students with disabilities plan their accommodations. In Imke's case, that meant putting textbooks into Braille or on the computer.
[Imke] The support you get at the school through the disabilities services office is crucial. Because the best department in your field doesn't help if you can't get the text in the right format.
[Narrator] And if you need some extra academic help making the jump to a university, check out the Office of Minority Affairs Bridge Program at the UW. It's so worth it.
[Noemi] We spent three weeks on campus, living in the dorms, attending college classes...and it was a really rigorous program, it was really structured, really scheduled. And it was a lot of fun. It basically bridged the gap between high school and college.
[Dalia] Myself, I met a lot of people, and that really helped, 'cause everybody that I met, pretty much talk to now, you know, really close friends. It's kind of like a family, we call ourselves the Bridge family.
[Salsa music]
[Narrator] And you'll have fun. In the summer, Gene Magallanes uses salsa dancing to help students get over any fear of math.
[Gene] The difficulty is an illusion. Four or five basic steps, put in different combinations, result in a beautiful exhibition. Mathematics is very similar. Four or five basic rules, put together in different combinations, will give you a fundamental understanding of math, and it'll take you to careers in science and engineering.
[Narrator] Once you're in college, you'll find as much support as you need. There are hundreds of social, political, and professional groups on campus where you can connect with people. Dakotah, for example, is a member of AISES. That stands for:
[Dakotah] American Indian Science and Engineering Society. I got involved with that, first of all because I'm an engineer, or I want to become an engineer; and also I'm a Native American. And I just wanted, first of all, to get to know my own... like, to see if there were other people out there like me.
[Noemi] Can I grab another bottle?
[Narrator] You'll get support from your professors, too. All you have to do is ask.
[Deirdre] The university's very supportive and there are a lot of opportunities for funding, working with professors, support groups like for women in engineering; so there's a lot of things you can tap into that can help you do the whole process.
[Robyn] Accelerate with your legs.
[Narrator] And while you're busy succeeding in your major, you can enjoy all the other great things that the University of Washington has to offer.
[Deirdre M.] It's important to study and do well in your classes, but there's so much more than that. There's student societies, sports, I was on the crew team, there's just so many fun things to do.
[Robyn] There's so much to learn, so much to do, so much to gain, actually. There are a lot of things out there...if you want to find something, there's something out there for you, basically; there's something out there for you.
[Ship's whistle]
[Narrator] And who knows what that might be? There are so many opportunities, so many options at the University of Washington. Science, technology, engineering, and math. They can start you on a lifetime of adventure.
[Veronique] And that's what keeps us going. That's really the exciting part, that we just don't know where we're going; and so we're inventing things as we go along, asking more questions all the time, so I think anybody that's curious about anything should be interested in science, because that's what it's all about.