By Jamila Caamaño
Pima’s Project EPIC prepares students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math
Do you want to have your pick of exciting, high-paying careers? Do you like creating things? Are you good at solving problems? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a career in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM might be for you.
Economists estimate there will be a shortage of nearly one million STEM professionals in the U.S. by 2025.
At Pima Community College’s East Campus, students pursuing a degree in a STEM field can take advantage of extra support services offered through Project EPIC (Engage, Prepare, Inspire, Challenge), a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education with a specific focus on under-represented minorities completing a degree in STEM and transferring to a four-year institution.
“Our goal, through Project EPIC, is to prepare and motivate students to persevere through challenges and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or math,” said Lupe Waitherwerch, PCC Project EPIC program manager.
Project EPIC program courses integrate a problem-based learning approach to teaching and learning that allows students to understand and appreciate the relevancy of their work to their lives and the world around them. This proven approach improves students’ ability to collaborate, communicate, and think critically to solve problems — skills that are increasingly important and can transfer into any occupation or industry.
“Bouncing ideas off of each other and working in groups to solve real-world problems brings relevance to the learning,” said student Apolonia Bustamante. “This way of learning is so much better than lecture and homework.”
Bustamante, who graduates in May, plans to pursue her Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering.
“Active learning” is how computer science student Arianna Boatner described her experience learning to write code.
“I’m learning how to solve real-world problems and help people,” she said. “The potential for what I can accomplish in this field is limitless.”
STEM is not just for aspiring scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The field has hundreds of specializations suiting anyone who likes to be challenged.
Studying and working in STEM means learning about the world around you, finding innovative solutions to real-world challenges, and playing a role in some of the country’s major discoveries and developments.
For more information: pima.edu/administrative-services/grants (click on PCC Grant Awards, then, under East Campus, see Title III – Hispanic Serving Institution STEM Grant)
Project EPIC Benefits:
Peer mentoring and networking
Career exploration and preparation
Tutoring and additional resources
STEM success workshops
Enhanced student advising
High-tech learning environments and access to laptops
Best STEM Jobs of the Future
Civil engineer $82,220*
Computer support specialist $62,250*
Computer systems analyst $85,800*
Database administrator $81,710*
Environmental engineer $84,560*
Information security analyst $90,120*
IT manager $131,600*
Operations research analyst $78,630*
Software developer $98,260*
Web developer $64,970*