Nortee Louder

North Carolina State University
Nortee Louder

The STEM courses I took in high school had a huge impact on my choice to pursue a career in a STEM related field. I have always had an interest in math and science and going to Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School allowed me to further my interest. Early exposure to engineering and drafting courses were especially meaningful as they gave me the opportunity to learn practical skills through projects. For instance, in one of those drafting courses, Architecture, I had the opportunity to learn Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to make 3D visuals on the computer which were then used to create models with balsa wood. Coming into college, I was not aware of how challenging STEM fields are. While I did take STEM courses in high school and found them to be difficult, the difficulty level only increased when I got to college. I wish I had built better study habits in high school so that I would know exactly how to study in college. The STEM classes I took in high school allowed me to take advantage of my interests and natural abilities, while the STEM courses I have taken thus far in college have required much more time and dedication. I found myself having to build skills that I did not already have in order to do well and even now, I am still learning how to enhance these skills.

I would definitely advise high school students to take advantage of all the STEM related classes, clubs, organizations, and activities that their high schools have to offer. It is good to be aware of the variety of STEM related fields out in order to figure out exactly what to pursue in college and after. Many may think they know what they want to do, but it is always good to have more varied exposure. I would also advise students to look for any internships and job shadow opportunities as early as they can; it is never too early to start preparing!

Right now I am still exploring all of the STEM related fields that relate to my interests. I want to use my creativity in a STEM field to make a change that will impact those around me. I can see myself pursuing this venture through either architecture, engineering, or teaching.

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This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under NSF grant number DRL-1118993.