Joey Schweitzer – STEM Super Youth Advocate: Spokane
In my early childhood. I developed a fascination with figuring out why things worked the way they did. I also had a drive to help less fortunate people in this world. Due to these interests, I gravitated towards learning about science and technology because I realized these were the keys to a better future for everyone. I was always reading a book about a science topic or the latest technology. At an early age, I was fortunate enough to visit many countries abroad. I came to the realization that many countries deal with a wide variety of social issues, especially around groups of people that are most vulnerable. During this time I made the connection on how science and technology could improve the quality of life for so many.
Going through the public education system gave me an abstract view on science and technology. I didn’t make many real-world connections to what I was learning, and I didn’t see how that knowledge could fit into my future career. I lost interest in those subjects through high school and lost my vision of seeing a fairer world through an increase in science and technology. I also couldn’t see how those subjects really applied to a career in my life. After losing that passion for science and technology, I went through high school seeing them as purely academic and left them at that.
When I left for college, and my parent’s nest, I was exposed to new ideas and interests through new friends, new classes, and interesting speakers that came to campus. I started getting interested in people like Elon Musk, Sean Parker, and the life of Steve Jobs. I saw that through technology these people were able to help many people and improve the quality of life on a global scale. I regained focus on my early childhood passion of helping people and decided to pursue a degree in management information systems. MIS is a great fit for me because It incorporates business with technology. I believe this combination can be a driving force for innovation and change. These days there is and intentional focus in my classes on how to apply the theoretical to real life situations, and a push to get real world experience through internships, coemptions, and club events.
When I heard about the Washington STEM super advocate program, I knew I had to join because it’s a mission I believe in. I think a push for career connected learning will benefit the future generation and economy. It can also provide a clearer direction for learning, as well more applicable skills for students, making sure that every student, no matter where they’re born or the circumstances they’re born into, has the same educational opportunity. Success shouldn’t depend on where someone is born or what school they went to. I believe this would be another step in the right direction, and it’s why I’m proud to call myself a STEM super advocate.