Stem Majors


What can CCC do to help?

The first step towards a STEM career is the college admissions game.  CCC’s counselors have navigated this process for many students, providing tutoring services for advanced placement exams and subject tests and helping them to craft resumes, essays, and other application documents to help maximize their chances of admissions success.  CCC’s counselors can also advise students on selection of an institution and department that matches their needs and goals.

CCC’s STEM counselor, Dr. Evan Coopersmith, has earned a B.S.E. in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois.  He has worked in the private and public sectors, founding a hedge fund at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), working with John Deere’s Technological Innovation Center in Illinois, and as NASA-funded researcher at the USDA’s Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Maryland.

CCC can help any student find a fulfilling and rewarding career in the STEM field of their choice during the undergraduate and graduate admissions processes. 


Employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations is projected to grow by over 1 million jobs between 2012 and 2022.  By the time current high school students reach the job market, the most competitive applicants will be those boasting STEM credentials.  The problems of tomorrow from neurobiology to mechanical and aerospace engineering, from geochemistry to computer science will be tackled by experts in a vast array of STEM fields.  Even the social sciences are tapping into the analytical methods and techniques taught in STEM programs.  Simply put, these fields meet the world’s demand from problem-solvers.  They are among the most challenging scholastic paths, but also among the most rewarding, and the most lucrative.

Where will it take me?

The options for STEM students are diverse, from the natural sciences to multiple fields of engineering, to economics, finance, and mathematics, to computer science.  Each of these fields offers an impressive array of professional options, some of which are discussed below:

Natural Sciences:

From neuroscientists studying the microscopic inner workings of our brains to the astrophysicists and cosmologists who investigate the vastness of our universe and its beginnings, these are the thinkers who have constructed humanity’s scientific understanding for centuries.  Some natural scientists perform biochemical research in the pharmaceutical sector developing new medication (Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, etc), for large chemical firms (DuPont, e.g.) synthesizing the chemicals required for manufacturing or in the energy sector (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, etc) turning petroleum and natural gas into fuel.  Others work in the public sector in government laboratories, while others pursue doctorates to research and teach at universities.


In engineering fields, the goal is to apply the techniques learned in the classroom to the design and construction of large projects.  For aerospace engineers, those projects involve aircraft and spacecraft with graduates finding work in the private sector at firms like Boeing and Lockheed-Martin or in the public sector with agencies like NASA and the Department of Defense.    For chemical engineers, the goal is designing the plants and reactors required for everything from nanotechnology to Goodyear tires for employers like DuPont, 3M, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, and many others.  Forcivil engineers, their focus is the infrastructure of everyday life, from railways and roadways to bridges and tunnels to the concrete and steel skyscrapers of industrial cities. Environmental engineers design reactors to decontaminate our drinking water, filters to remove toxins from our air and even evolve bacteria to breakdown specific organic contaminants.  Many also work for environmental consulting firms helping larger business comply with environmental regulation.  For electrical engineers, the aim is to develop the circuitry demanded in a modern society, from telecommunications to the systems that power our planes and automobiles to the processors in our personal computers. They find work everywhere from GE to Boeing to Google.  For mechanical engineers, the objective is, via expert knowledge of heat and materials, to produce machinery, tools, and other equipment.  These professionals work for anyone from GM to the Army Corps of Engineers as part of one of the oldest and broadest branches of engineering.   These fields all offer a plethora of professional options at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels.

Economics, Finance, and Applied Mathematics:

While many institutions offer programs in ‘industrial engineering’ or ‘operations research engineering’ or ‘financial engineering,’ other universities prefer to offer concentrations within their departments of economics and mathematics to teach the skills of the corporate world.  In these fields students study the systems that allocate financial resources, the choices corporations face to maintain fiscal solvency, and the science of decision-making.  Many students head to large investment banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc) after graduation to begin careers in high finance.  Others pursue careers in management consulting (McKinsey, Bain, etc).  Still others ultimately pursue MBAs, graduate education, or apply their financial savvy as entrepreneurs.

Computer Science:

Perhaps no field has experienced more rapid job growth or has integrated its skills into the work of other STEM professionals than computer science.  Computer scientists design the software that runs our modern world, working at Apple, Google, Facebook, and other innovative companies that have shaped and defined the 21st century.  From Steve Jobs to Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, recent history has offered no shortage of groundbreaking computer scientists redefining how we interact with technology and each other.

How can I get ready?

Though the definition of a “STEM” job is hotly debated and constantly evolving, preparation for college-level study requires some fundamental skills long before students are asked to declare a major.

  1. Mathematics.  Every STEM field has a common thread – the ability to describe the world in rigorous, quantitative terms.  Top-universities expect students considering STEM degrees to enter as freshmen prepared for university-level calculus, if not the second semester thereof.  As many engineering courses have mathematical prerequisites, arriving on campus with strong mathematical training will make every challenging course a bit more manageable. 
  2. Programming.  Once upon a time, engineers focused on their specific discipline.   Now, interdisciplinary skills are prized by universities and employers alike.  In a world where the best engineers work hand-in-hand with the best technologist, entering college with basic programming skills is an enormous advantage.  In fact, many engineering programs require computer programming coursework, which can be skipped or made vastly easier with a bit of preparation.
  3. Advanced Placement Coursework.  With STEM majors requiring more coursework than other majors at many universities and with most courses requiring the completion of others, a head-start can go a long way.  Obtaining a top score on an AP exam related to your chosen STEM field not only impresses admissions offices, but lessens one’s load freshman year.