WEST CARTERET, N.C. (WNCT) – Nationwide almost 80 percent of students change their college majors. And they’ll change it to something else an average of three times.
That’s all according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
WNCT’s STEM Teacher of the Month is part of a program working to change those numbers, especially in engineering and other STEM-related majors.
“I’m different,” said Michael Helm. “I’m not very, I would say, I’m not very predictable.”
Helm is known for his STEM projects.
“All of my demonstrations are safe,” he said. “People might say they’re not, but they’re calculated risk. I’ve done enough research. I understand what I’m doing.”
Helm went to college to wrestle, wanting to be a coach. Now he’s in his eleventh year as a teacher, currently serving as a Project Lead The Way instructor, preparing students for their college years.
And it’s personal for Helm. He wants to see his students excel in the program.
“Both of my brothers are engineers,” Helm explained. “So it was something that would help students after they get out of high school.”
Project Lead The Way is an engineering and technology program adopted by districts not only in North Carolina, but in more than 8,000 schools across the country.
The teachers go through a very intensive training program. It’s designed to help students continue their education into the second year of college.
“Engineering is not an easy field, so a lot of kids will graduate high school and go into college, get into engineering and be overwhelmed and they would have no idea what was going on and they would drop out,” explained Helm.
Taking these classes now helps students know what they’re getting into. And Helm is helping to guide them.
“I tell them there’s are all kinds of jobs in engineering, there are all kinds of job in STEM jobs, and a lot of the jobs they think aren’t STEM really are,” he said.
And reinforcing that knowledge is why Michael Helm is WNCT’s STEM Teacher of the Month.
As STEM Teacher of the Month, Helm gets $200. Half of that goes to his classroom.
To learn more on how your business can get involved in the STEM initiative in the classrooms or to nominate a STEM teacher, click here.