Katie Jagusch, BME ’04, can pointedly recall when she realized that the engineering industry might be headed for a crisis of sorts.
As a new mechanical engineer at URS Corporation, one of the world’s top engineering firms, she made a keen observation.
“You have a whole bunch of baby boomers retiring and we’ll need to start encouraging more young people to take up not only engineering careers, but science careers and technology careers in order to fill this need,” she said.
Rather than sit back and brace for the widening shortage of workers, Jagusch and two other friends, Brian Pallante and Lindsey Frick, BME ‘07, decided to create an organization that encourages school-age children to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
The organization, appropriately named STEMout, Inc., is wholly dedicated to outreach. Jagusch said that while she isn’t completely sure why students tend to avoid STEM fields, one reason could be a lack of proper encouragement. It’s something she struggled with herself in choosing her college major, noting that she only happened into engineering, almost by accident.
The goal of STEMout, then, is to get students to consider deliberately the possibilities of STEM careers.
“People are surprised when they realize just about everything is somehow connected to a STEM field,” Jagusch said.
Next month, STEMout, in conjunction with CSU’s Center for STEM Education, will launch its first-ever STEM Squads, where students will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities and learn about local STEM industry.
“We’re trying to show students, ‘You have a school [Cleveland State] here where you can major in these STEM [fields] and, if this is something that interests you, you also have careers where you can stay in the region and work here.”
As an official kickoff, Jagusch and friends will host an outreach social on October 5 at the House of Cues on West Superior Avenue to engage area STEM professionals not only with STEMout, but with one another.