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What problems would you like to help solve?

When I start talking about majors/careers with a student, I often ask the above question. It was recommended to me by a friend who is an economist. I understand that many, if not most, students are not ready to answer this. I keep asking questions, trying to get them to dig a little deeper. If students have an answer or more questions for me, they may be candidates to do research. I direct them to the UN Sustainable Development Goals below.

There are plenty of projects to explore here for for every kind of future scientist, engineer, architect, urban planner, sustainability expert, computer science specialist, and medical professional. But while the assumption is usually that research is for STEM fields only, you can see that many of these issues are dependent on those in the political sphere, including lawyers, public relations teams, educators, advocates for the rights of women and children, and above all--strong communicators who can use their skills to improve their communities, and eventually, their world.

When I ask the big question, students, especially those with comfortable lives, don't respond because they haven't thought about what really matters to them yet. That's ok, because their process is simply at a different level. But students who are passionate about a big issue might consider a research project to show colleges who they are--and give them a hint as to the great things they will do.

There are several companies offering mentored research for high school students. These can lead to further research, publishing opportunities, and strong letters of recommendation. If students have relationships with professors and teachers, they can ask them if there are research opportunities. All that's needed is curiosity and direction. See the video below and contact me for specific recommendations.


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