How STEM Education Helps Humanity Reach the Stars

Jennie Kroeger

The February 6 launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy'the most powerful operational rocket in the world'is one for the history books. The enormous rocket, which measures 70 meters and can carry 64 metric tons into space, launched Elon Musk's personal Tesla roadster into space while blasting the late David Bowie's iconic Life on Mars? To a casual observer, the rocket looked like something out of a science fiction movie, particularly when the pair of enormous booster rockets guided themselves back to Earth and landed gracefully in unison.

To STEM educators, the Falcon Heavy represented the importance of teaching future generations to aim for the stars - literally! While larger-than-life personalities like Elon Musk might come about only once a generation, the hundreds of engineers and thousands of employees at SpaceX came from classrooms around the country. These men and women were shaped by STEM educators who taught the fundamental skills that helped get the Falcon Heavy into space. From this knowledge, SpaceX engineers devised new technologies to solve long-standing problems facing space travel. The U.S. has invested heavily into teaching students STEM subjects'science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Projects like the Falcon Heavy rocket are just one of the many payoffs from pushing the importance of STEM. Florida State University also recognizes the importance of teaching the sciences. Students enrolled in the FSU-Teach program can help foster the next wave of engineers and scientists. FSU-Teach invites students pursuing a degree in biology, chemistry, environmental science, geoscience, mathematics or physics to get a second major in secondary teaching at the same time. While some FSU-Teach students will get a job in their content degree, others will inspire future students in STEM subjects. Professionally trained educators that can pass on knowledge to the next generation will help humanity achieve its lofty dreams of exploring planets both near and far, as well as solve everyday problems here on Earth. If you're a current FSU freshman or sophomore, you can test-drive the FSU-Teach program for free. To learn more, visit the FSU-Teach website. Even if you are interested in other aspects of education outside of STEM, you will still be an integral part of future generations and encouraging their dreams. Perhaps you'll teach music and inspire the next great musician, whose music will be carried into the stars like David Bowie. Or maybe you will teach literature and introduce a student to important ideas; Elon Musk cites Isaac Asimov's Foundation series as inspiring some of his core world views. Whatever your interest in education, your presence in the classroom will shape the lives of hundreds of students. Start your journey to become an educator with the College of Education today.