San Jacinto College engineering design graphics student and CAD lab assistant, Linru Shan, received a $2,500 scholarship from the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (T-STEM) Challenge Scholarship Program. Shan plans to pursue a career in engineering. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Student rediscovers a new career within the STEM fields
Andrea Vasquez-- April 26, 2012
HOUSTON — Careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are steadily growing, especially in Houston. As one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country with one of the largest medical and scientific communities, Houston continues to attract STEM field professionals and students. San Jacinto College engineering design graphics student Linru Shan is carving out a future for herself with exactly that in mind.
Originally from Beijing, Shan moved to Houston with her husband in 2010. Already holding a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, she hoped to find a position that would fit with her experience in landscaping architectural design. Facing a newly recovering job market, she quickly realized that technical drafting skills would make her more marketable to prospective employers.
“When I graduated from college in Beijing, I realized that I didn’t have a lot of the skills employers were looking for in job applicants,” said Shan. “When I moved here, I started looking at schools for programs that I could build on with my educational background, while learning skills and concepts that would help me find a job. I feel like I’m really learning something now and once I graduate, I know I’ll be an asset to the company that wants to hire me.”
When a scholarship opportunity from the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (T-STEM) Challenge Scholarship Program came along, Shan decided to apply. The T-STEM Challenge Scholarship Program is funded through a grant provided to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board from the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation that provides grant awards to qualified and selected Texas public community and technical colleges to provide merit-based scholarships to qualifying, high-achieving full-time students pursuing careers in STEM and related fields. Shan was one of the 2012 recipients and received a $2,500 scholarship from the program.
“In China, my major was considered more on the artistic side, which seemed more appealing at first. I decided to enroll in the engineering design graphics program here at San Jacinto College since I had taken a drafting class before, and I thought this would be the best area for me. At first I was intimidated about the scientific and mathematical aspects of the degree, but now I feel a lot more confident, especially since my professors have always been willing to help when I need it. I want to start working after I graduate, to get a better feel for the industry, but now I’m considering another degree in engineering,” said Shan.
In a recent report by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, over the past 10 years, growth in STEM careers was three times higher than growth of non-STEM careers. Professionals in these areas are less likely to experience unemployment and earn 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. In 2010, there were 7.6 million STEM professionals, representing one out of 18 workers in the U.S. More than two-thirds of them have at least a college degree, compared to less than one-third of non-STEM workers.
Shan has only lived in the U.S. for two years, but she has definitely seen the benefits of these career fields. “I think STEM careers in America offer professionals and students a lot more growth potential and job security. That’s why I think I’m going to continue on this path, first as a draftsman, then work my way up to a lead designer or maybe even an engineer,” she said. Recently at the South Campus Student Awards Ceremony, Shan was named one of the “Most Promising Engineering Graphics Design Students” of 2012.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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