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STEM Careers

Industry Advisor: Don Snyder

Whether you are a declared STEM major or are considering a STEM major, know that there are many exciting career paths available. A STEM education lays a solid foundation with transferable skills and experiences that can take you in various directions. There are well-known fields such as research and healthcare, but also fields that may not be as visible such as science communications, policy, and consulting. Your intended career path may stay the same or it may change, which happens for many students, and is completely normal. We are here to help you navigate your career journey! Explore your options through the resources, programs, and strategies available below. Questions along the way? Connect with your STEM Industry Advisor, [[dlsnyder,Don Snyder]].

The STEM Industry by Sector

There are many sectors that fall within the STEM industry, and additional areas within each sector. You may have interest in multiple sectors and areas, which can create exciting and cutting edge career paths. Examples include technology and healthcare, wildlife conservation and data science, and sustainability and public health. The major STEM sectors are listed below, including areas within some sectors. These listings are grouped by similar themes, may overlap with each other, and are not inclusive. They provide a high-level view of the field. You will discover other sectors and job titles as you conduct further research.

Healthcare, Public Health, Biomedical
  • Healthcare, patient-facing including physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, occupational therapist, dentist, and many others.
    • Pro Tip: Consult with a health professions advisor for guidance on academic and application requirements.
      • [[btsher,Beverly Sher]] – Medicine, Veterinary, Dentistry, Pharmacy
      • [[enburnet,Evie Burnet]] – Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy
      • [[aeeverhardt,Ashleigh Everhardt Queen]] – Nursing, Physician Assistant
  • Healthcare, non-patient facing including healthcare consulting and healthcare administration.
  • Public Health including epidemiology, health disparities, education, communication, policy, environmental, and global.
    • Pro Tip:Attend the annual Careers in Public Health Panel to hear from alumni in the field.
  • Biomedical including biomedical, clinical research, biotech, pharmaceutical.
    • Pro Tip: Attend the annual Science Career Expo to connect with organizations in the field.
Technology, Data, and Engineering
  • Technology including software development, user experience design/UX, product management, cyber security, web development, and technical sales.
    • Pro Tip: Attend the annual Computer Science Night panel to hear from alumni in the field.
    • Pro Tip: Participate in Cypher, a hack-a-thon coordinated by the W&M ACM chapter.
  • Data including data science, data analytics, and GIS.
  • Engineering including mechanical, aerospace, biomedical, chemical, electrical, civil, environmental, materials science, geological, and automotive.
    • Pro Tip: Consider the Engineering Physics and Applied Design (EPAD) track to learn about engineering sectors and work on engineering-related projects.
    • Pro Tip: Get involved with the W&M Makerspace to develop hands-on engineering skills and experiences.
  • Environmental, field-related including consulting, wildlife, and land/resources conservation.
  • Environmental, non-field-related including education, outreach, and advocacy.
  • Sustainability including policy, programming, education, and material sourcing/usage.
Science Communication, Education and Outreach, Policy
  • Science Communication including writing, web design, infographics, video, and podcasting.
  • Education and Outreach including national and state parks, science centers, and museums.
  • Policy including federal government, think tanks, and nonprofits such as national associations.
  • Research-focused careers encompass all areas of STEM, from neuroscience to geology to computer science. Research positions can be found in academia, nonprofit foundations and institutions, and industry.
    • Pro Tip: Identify and reach out to W&M faculty early to inquire about research opportunities, and begin building your experience.
Science Education
  • Science education including higher education and K-12.
    • Pro Tip:Explore the W&M Noyce Scholars Program to learn about teaching science in grades 6-12 and funding options to help you along the way.
  • Consulting including science-specific, technology, management, and strategy.
    • Pro Tip: Attend the Meet the Firms event to learn about different sectors of consulting, and connect with alumni and other employers in the field.

There are many resources, organizations, and programs available for you as you explore and prepare for a STEM-related career. Utilize online resources for more detailed industry information, get involved with organizations and connect with other students who share your interests, and attend STEM programs to get advice from alumni and connect with employers in the field.

Career Development & Professional Engagement Resources in STEM Careers
Science & Technology Newsletter

The newsletter features upcoming STEM programs from the the Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement, across campus, and beyond; articles, alumni and employer spotlights, internship and job listings, and more. To sign up to receive this newsletter, log in to TribeCareers. Click on the circle on the top right of the page, then My Account, then Industry Newsletters/Career Interests and update your Industry Newsletters section by checking the box next to all of the newsletters you'd like to receive.

Online Resources
  • “Career Connections for Science Students” Blackboard site: The site includes the Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement and other programs, clinical shadowing and volunteer opportunities, internships and fellowships, science resume examples, and industry-related websites. Recordings and slides of past meet ups, panels, and information sessions are also available. To be added, email [[dlsnyder,Don Snyder]].
  • TribeCareers: Search for jobs, internships, externships, fellowships, and other opportunities; RSVP for the Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement events, schedule an advising appointment, and access resources including crash courses and video clinics.
  • LinkedIn: Research career and education paths of W&M STEM alumni and reach out to them for information and advice.
  • Firsthand Guides: These guides include information on careers, industries, and employers. Research industries such as Alternative Energy, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology. There is much more information in this online career library at your fingertips.
  • CandidCareer: Watch video interviews with professionals in a variety of careers. Get the “day-in-the-life” inside perspective. Search STEM interviews in:
Events & Programs

There are many STEM-related programs and events that occur throughout the fall and spring semesters. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn from and connect with W&M STEM alumni and other professionals in a variety of fields.

Annual Events

  • Science Career Expo: The Expo features a variety of organizations in fields including biomedical, science communications, environmental, engineering, and science museums and allows you to learn about career paths, internships, and full-time opportunities.
  • Computer Science Night: Hear a panel of W&M computer science alumni talk about their career paths and provide advice for entering the field.
  • Careers in Public Health Panel: Hear a panel of W&M alumni in different sectors of public health talk about their education and career paths and provide advice on entering the field.
  • What I Wish I’d Known – Science Research @ W&M: Hear a panel of W&M students in different research labs give advice on connecting with faculty for opportunities and navigating the lab environment.
  • Becoming an EMT Panel: Hear a panel of EMT-certified students give advice on the certification process and developing EMT-related experience.
  • Gap Year Job Panel for PreHealth Students: Connect with clinical providers offering gap year positions, including medical assistant and scribe.

Meet Ups and other career panels take place at various times and feature W&M STEM alumni from a wide range of fields, such as genetic counseling, science communications, science policy, data science, and healthcare.

Information Sessions take place at various times, featuring healthcare programs, gap year fellowships, and other types of organizations.

Potential Majors

Some majors that students pursue who have an interest in working in this space include:

What Can I Do With This Major?: Use this resource to see how a major can connect to different career paths. STEM listings include:

Special Topics

Graduate School: There are many careers in STEM that will require some form of advanced education and training. Because there is such a wide array of STEM career options, the level of education will vary considerably, from certificate programs to professional degrees.

The timing to go to graduate school is a very individualized decision. Some students want a break from academics and desire industry experience first, while other students want to keep up their academic momentum and roll directly into graduate school. There are many additional factors to consider. Whatever timeline you choose for your further education, that decision should be made with confidence. Gather as much information as possible from multiple people and resources. Visit our Graduate School page to learn more about this process.

Keep in mind that plans may change, new opportunities may arise, and learning and career development will continue in many different forms well after your experience at William & Mary.

Recruiting Timelines & Breaking into Professional Roles

Different industries have different recruiting timelines and it’s good to know a deadline well in advance to avoid a last-minute rush with your application materials. Organizations will also utilize the “Just in Time” hiring model, where a position won’t be posted until there is an opening, and that position needs to be filled sooner than later. Please inquire with the STEM Industry Advisor for specific programs and dates. For example, most healthcare gap year fellowship programs have an application deadline anywhere from December to February, while many gap year medical assistant positions may be posted anywhere from February to May.

It can be very important to utilize networking in your job search as well, as many positions are competitive in nature. Keep in mind that it’s best to cultivate your network before you need it. Check out our networking page for more information on networking strategies.

W&M Clubs & Organizations

It's important to get connected to your community! There are many STEM-related student organizations at William & Mary. You can hear from guest speakers, participate in professional development events, and learn about research and internship opportunities. Getting involved will provide you with a support system of peers and other advocates to help you on your journey. 

Log into TribeLink to find a full list of organizations, learn more and sign up for a club/organization that interests you. Here are just a few of the clubs and organizations you may want to explore: