Careers in Science

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I am often amazed when I speak with young people in our area about career choices and what field they may choose to pursue when they get older. Often times, these students have put a great deal of thought into future occupations and appear to be very excited about what their “dream job” may hold. There are instances, however, when I can tell there has not been quite as much groundwork put into researching a career. These examples range from the student that’s interested in accounting but their least favorite subject is math, or the aspiring surgeon that claims they are not that interested in taking many classes beyond high school. Not so sure I would want these individuals itemizing my deductions or scrubbing in to perform a complicated medical procedure on me. These are of course exaggerations, but it does illustrate the importance of doing plenty of research about a career pathway before you make a long-term commitment in pursuing a field.

One of the tips I regularly share with students about careers is that if you find one you are interested in, learn as much as you can about the requirements of that job. Talk to people in your chosen field of interest, research it on the internet, learn about education and experience requirements, and most important of all…try and find an internship in your field of interest so you can gain hands on experience. An internship will do a number of things when pursuing a career, including helping you decide if this career is the one for you, or even possibly realizing the job is not exactly what you had in mind. Better to realize this early on than after four years of college, massive student loan payments, and a lifetime of wondering what could have been had you pursued a different path.

In the coming months, the Lee County 4-H “Summer of Science” program is offering a way to learn more about local careers in science up close and personal! Running July 11-15, “Summer Vocation” will allow participants an opportunity to explore careers in science at Caterpillar, Johnson Controls, STI Polymers, Mertek, and Shearon Harris. If you enjoy solving real world problems and learning more about exciting career possibilities in a science related field, this course is definitely for you! Registration for this and others awesome 4-H science camps are still open so please log on to to register.

Bill Stone is County Extension Director for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County