STEM skills can take you anywhere – and now you can gain those skills anywhere, too, with Open Universities Australia’s flexible degrees.
By Brett Szmajda
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that just 18% of the workforce is skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths. But STEM expertise can open doors across a range of industries – as it has for Brenda Frisk.
After completing separate Bachelor degrees in Human Ecology and Education at the University of Manitoba, Canada, and a Master of Arts in Communications Technology with the University of Alberta, she forged a career building business solutions with technology at their core.
“Understand what’s important to people and you’ll create experiences they enjoy and technology that they’re going to use,” says Brenda.
Her most memorable career moments include creating an award-winning multimedia program; pitching 3D business solutions to a global aviation manufacturer while touring its enormous US campus, and working in rural Victoria to optimise a multimillion dollar water utility project designing a mobile application, which won an international award. “Each project brings a very different and exciting experience, which is part of what’s wonderful about working in STEM,“ she explains.
Now the Head of Learning Technology at Open Universities Australia (OUA), Brenda is an advocate for flexible degrees that fit a busy modern lifestyle. Providing the best flexible degrees remotely often requires ‘thinking differently’, she says. For example, rendering 3D models once required a supercomputer, but now students can gain this experience at home using cloud-based computing services on a tablet.
Bianca Braun, who studied a Master of Science in applied statistics through OUA, says being able to study whenever and wherever she wanted was key to finishing her degree. “There’s no way I would have been able to do this otherwise,” she says.
Data from OUA suggests flexible degrees have been particularly enabling for women interested in STEM. In the past three years, OUA has seen a 26% growth in females studying STEM courses, compared with a 16% growth in male numbers.
Like Brenda, Bianca wants to apply her STEM skills in a range of industries. “Every organisation has data,” she says. “My job is to tell the story behind the data.”
A STEM degree equips you with the tools to create solutions across a variety of disciplines. Brenda offers this advice: consider a problem in the world you would like to fix, then use your STEM skills to tackle it.
“Understand what’s important to people and you’ll create experiences they enjoy and technology that they’re going to use.”
Author: STEM Contributor
This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.