Business may STEM students’ dreams

What college students do should not be determined by market demands.

Cassandra Sundaram

As we begin the first full week of spring semester and inch our way slowly but surely to graduation, most students, if not all, will once again ask themselves, âÄúWhen and where will I start my career?âÄù  
In an effort to help guide some of these decisions, Sen. Al Franken spoke last week as part of a policy discussion series at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  Franken stressed the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in the current job market. He noted companiesâÄô claims of many undereducated and unqualified applicants as a justification for the pushing of STEM in public schools.  
If I recall correctly, the reason people go to college is to have a better chance at the career and future theyâÄôve dreamed for themselves, not the career and future the corporate community dreams up for them.  
College, in a way, is a miniature version of the American Dream. Students work hard throughout high school and college in the hopes that the kinds of specialized education they have chosen to pursue guide them closer toward their dream job.  
I have always thought that students will be more interested in and better at a major they choose because itâÄôs what they want to do, not what companies want them to do or what will pay the most money. Science and engineering are obviously important, but they also canâÄôt be forced on students.
We go to college because we choose the kind of people we want to be, businesses and politicians donâÄôt.  We are not merely training to be cogs in the corporate marketplace. We should be the ones to decide how our talents will contribute to society, and they always will.

Cassandra Sundaram welcomes comments at
 [email protected]