NACME Publications

STEM Education Information



What is STEM Education?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM education is the umbrella term for all fields of study and practices that are used to invent and create high-tech products and services that are so much a part of our lives today. At the High School level, the STEM curriculum includes courses such as algebra, calculus, biology, chemistry, and computer science. Engineering draws on all of the STEM fields and applies them to solve problems and to create innovative devices, structures, and software applications.

STEM Education can also be used when addressing education public policy. Policymakers support STEM Education as it drives global innovation and U.S. Competiveness. NACME gives scholarships to underrepresented minorities (URMs) to support diversity with equity.


Additional STEM Information

Becoming an Engineer

Engineering is one of the fastest-growing, most rewarding career areas in the world. Opportunities for young engineers are plentiful and pay above-average wages!

To earn the rewards of being an engineer, however, you must put in place some essential early building blocks, starting in school. Math and science courses will form the basis of your education. Every high school student who is even a little bit interested in a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) should take the following high school courses:

• Algebra
• Geometry
• Trigonometry
• Calculus
• Biology
• Chemistry
• Physics
• English (at least three years)
• Social Studies

There are several paths you can follow to become an engineer after you graduate from high school. You may choose to enter a four-year program at a college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree. You could choose to get an associate’s degree at a two-year community college, then transfer to a four-year college. You can pursue advanced studies and get a master’s or doctoral degree. Ultimately, you should choose the pathway that’s best for your individual goals.

To find a college, check out the list of accredited engineering programs at colleges and universities across the country evaluated by the organization ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). You may also want to download for free the The NACME Guide to Engineering Colleges.

Although colleges and universities are expensive, you have many financial options that can help with tuition and expenses. See Paying for College for more information.
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What is Engineering?

Wouldn’t you like to shape the future instead of having it just happen to you? Did you know that almost everything made by people took the ideas and work of engineers? Just look around at the things that make your life interesting, comfortable, and fun. The dishes and silverware you eat with, television sets, cars, video games, the bridges you cross on highways, airplanes, ships, and spacecraft—even make-up— all take the work of engineers.

Engineers are the people who make things work, who imagine, design, and create. There are many kinds of engineers: Aerospace engineers make flight possible—to another city or all the way to the planets in our solar system. Agricultural engineers help feed our country by making plants and animals grow bigger and stronger. Civil engineers design and construct highways, bridges, and tunnels, even roller coasters. Electrical engineers tame the force that gives us light, heat, and power. Mechanical engineers build machines—from toys that move to the most advanced robots and racing cars. There are chemical engineers who develop a wide range of products, and even lawyers and doctors who specialize as engineers in their field.

Engineers are also inventors, developers of new products and ways of doing business. They design cities and towns. The entire communications industry—telephones, radios, television, satellites, and computers—owes its existence to engineering.

If you're interested in engineering, click here to download NACME's Enginneering Awareness Materials, and for a list of engineering colleges download The NACME Guide to Engineering Colleges, were you can check with colleges you are considering to see if they offer a program that fits your interests.

To learn more about engineering and manufacturing, visit the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford University.
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Engineering Careers

There are many types of careers in engineering, as varied as designing commercial airplanes and military fighter jets in the field of aerospace engineering, building new motors and engines in mechanical engineering, and designing video games and computer software in computer engineering. In fact, the list of professions is nearly endless. No other career field offers more choices. Even better, engineering represents 14 of the top 15 paying degrees in the country

Click here for a list of major college engineering programs. Check with colleges you are considering to see if they offer a program that fits your interests.
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Paying for College

Even though college may seem far off, the time to start planning and saving is now. Here are some helpful hints:

Learn the Lingo.

Not all financial aid is created equal. It comes in different forms.

Grants and scholarships: This is the most desirable kind of aid, as it doesn’t have to be paid back. A grant is a gift based on financial need, and scholarships are money given for different reasons such as excellent grades, choice of major, choice of college, artistic ability, leadership ability, athletic ability, gender, race, financial need, community involvement, and so on. Scholarships are available from a wide variety of places, whereas grants come from just three major sources:

• Institutional grants, which are from the university’s own funds. Private colleges and universities tend to offer the most in institutional grants.

• Private grants, given to the university by someone else, for example, a graduate of the university or a corporation.

• Government grants, provided by the state or federal government. Large state universities are more likely to be dependent on government grants. The neediest students are often given Pell Grants.

• Work-study programs: Although less desirable than grants—because they take away some of the time that could be spent studying—work-study programs do have their benefits. The person who helps pay the bills (the student) tends to take the investment more seriously. Keep the hours down, though, to 10 or fewer per week.

• Loans: Loans are the least desirable type of aid because—you guessed it—they have to be paid back, with interest. Before accepting a loan from your bank or the university, find out the terms of repayment. Federal loans are usually the cheapest and allow borrowers the longest time to pay them back. (And by the time payments are to begin, the student should be a graduate and able to take on at least partial responsibility for repaying those loans.)

Start Planning Now!
• For help planning for college, check out American Education Services

Calculate What Your College Costs Might Be.
• This is a good way to set your savings goal. Look at the College Board’s College Cost Calculator for more information.

Get Answers to Your Questions.
• Visit the Peterson’s financial aid website.

Have Other Questions?
• Ask the NACME Scholarship Source. Send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Looking for Financial Aid?
Check the College Board’s database of more than 2,000 scholarship grants.

For more information on financial aid, please take a look at The NACME Guide to Engineering Colleges.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To apply for federal student financial aid, and for many state student aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information provided on the FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for federal and state financial aid. The application is free.
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Believe it or not, you are the most influential person in your child’s life. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, of course. Even so, in research study after research study, children and young adults report that they consult their parents before making any major decisions.

Before your son or daughter begins to earn the big bucks as an engineer, before graduating from college, before even selecting a college, he or she has to build math and science skills in elementary and middle school. Motivation and hard work are two keys to success. Opportunity, particularly for African American, American Indian, and Latino students, is another. Your support is vital to ensuring that your child gets the opportunity to succeed and makes the most of it.

Today’s students are aiming high: They want to succeed in their chosen careers and are increasingly selecting math- and science-based careers that might have seemed inaccessible to previous generations. Engineering, with its various disciplines, appeals to a wide variety of interests and skill sets. Use to help your child make better career choices. Talk about the possibility of designing new products as an electrical engineer, of prolonging life through technology as a biomedical engineer, or of growing new crops as an agricultural engineer. Encourage your son or daughter to go for it—and look to NACME to back him or her all along the way.
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You are the people who will grow the next generations of engineers. Whether you work as a classroom teacher, teacher’s assistant, principal, counselor, superintendent, or another kind of administrator, you provide an invaluable service to your community. In addition to preparing your students for everyday life; managing your classroom; and staying current with changes in curriculum, education policies, and standards, you are preparing leaders. The students you work with are our future teachers, scientists, engineers, and doctors.

NACME helps those students find their way along the pathway to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
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As the old saying goes, “Teaching is the profession that makes all other professions possible.” That is never truer than when it comes to preparing the next generations of engineers. What you teach today is what young people will use to invent and innovate tomorrow. is a resource-rich hub for information about engineering, engineering careers, and engineering colleges that you can share with your students. Take advantage of the Engineering Awareness Material publications, especially our Guide to Engineering for Parents, Teachers, and Guidance Counselors.
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School counselors play a critical role in putting students on the pathway to successful engineering careers. It’s up to you to encourage students with talent in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) area to consider focusing their high school and college studies on engineering.

When you’re a school counselor, however, your day may be full of meetings, discipline referrals, and hundreds of questions from students who need help deciding what steps to take in their academic careers. NACME offers you information about engineering careers and the pathways to engineering degrees that you can share with your students. It also includes materials that they can explore on their own.

With the Princeton Review, for example, NACME has published The NACME Guide to Engineering Colleges, which profiles hundreds of American engineering colleges. Download a free copy as well as additional engineering awareness resources from our publications, page. NACME STEM Innovation Grants are also available for counselors as an extra resource for promoting engineering in your school.

For information on scholarships, please visit NACME Student Scholarships.
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Need to get in contact with someone at NACME or just have some questions?

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