STEM at UCI
All of my roommates here at UCI are STEM majors that range from Computer Science to Engineering to Biological Sciences. Hearing about their stories about labs, practicals, programs, and projects has been quite revealing of what STEM students do in their time hear at UCI. Being able to share this space with STEM majors has been eye-opening because of the difference in learning styles that are often applied in the different fields.
So what is STEM? Well for starters, STEM is the acronym of science, technology, engineering, and math. At UCI we have a lot of schools and majors that fall underneath that STEM category. The schools that carry STEM majors include The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, the School of Physical Sciences, and the School of Biological Sciences. All the majors that are encompassed by these schools fall under the STEM definition.
With students in STEM you’ll see a lot of variance in what kind of focus they are trying for. Examples include STEM students in the CALTEACH program who learn and take classes with the goal of becoming teachers at some level, while others like Biological Science students are taking classes in preparation for medical school and lab work. Some of these programs are super integrated. My friend Timmy Hoang, who is a junior here at UCI, is a member of CALTEACH and with his classes he balances labs with practical classes on how to teach what he learns in labs.
STEM at UCI has always been very popular amongst incoming students in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. The reasons for this popularity range from how each school has interesting classes and world-renowned professors to the fact that Irvine and the surrounding cities host huge amounts of companies that need STEM professionals. UCI offers a number of particularly interesting courses, including a physics and chemistry course called “Science of Superheroes,” a computer game science course on analyzing what makes a video game “good,” and an engineering course on building drones. The schools also try to help students by holding job fairs for STEM-related fields, especially for engineering and computer science majors, since Irvine is known for having offices for companies such as Blizzard and Lockheed Martin. STEM is also full of research opportunities for students they can pursue , especially with biology students getting a full range of opportunities through the UCI Medical Center. Some of our students will go to cadaver labs for pre-med classes, while others will get to explore the ecosystems in the local marshlands.
One of the truly valuable things about STEM programs at UCI is that they don’t overshadow the other non-STEM majors and schools. In fact there is a lot of communication between schools on how they do research, especially when it comes to interdisciplinary studies such as the physics of music or psychology, neuro, and cognitive science. The strongest part of our STEM programs here at UCI is the fact that they open so many doors for students by providing an excellent foundation through their courses and labs that will help them with any kind of research and work opportunities that are available.