Today’s blog post is brought to you by Candi Johnson.
There are countless STEM careers, many that the general public do not even know exist. I would like to share my unique career and the path I took to get to it. I am the Program Coordinator for the SIUE STEM Center. What this means is that I work to create fun activities and curriculum for STEM programs for all ages. I get to meet educators and students around the region while doing programming, workshops, and presentations about STEM education.
I have always loved working with, communicating with, and being around people. I also have a great passion for STEM, especially biology. I never imagined that there was a career out there that combined both my passion for people, and science. I have learned that if you pursue your passions and skills through education, you can eventually find a career that is just right for you.
I began my education journey by pursuing my love of science. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Before entering into graduate school, I took a year off and worked as a substitute teacher. Through this experience, I learned that I love working with students and sharing my passion for science with others. I then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education. I then entered into my career at SIUE combining my love of science and my joy in teaching others the wonders of science as well. As time went on, I missed learning new things about animals and the environment, so I earned a Master’s degree in Biology.
I have spent many years in school pursuing knowledge about things that interest me. I have often come across students that are not sure how to pursue a career that requires many years of education, while also starting a family. I can assure you that after getting married, having two kids, and earning three degrees, it is not easy. But I am proof that it is not only doable, but totally worth it to work hard and go after your dreams! My advice to anyone who is trying to figure out what career they should go into is to first think of your dream job, even if you are not sure if it exists. Then do research on how to join an education program and find resources to make that career a reality. If you need assistance with your career journey you can always contact a counselor or department head at a university of interest to ask questions. Good luck and make your dreams come true!
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Photo of Candi teaching Alton students at the Madison County Housing Authority, during a Robotics program that she created. Photo taken by SIUE university photographer, Howard Ash.