DAHLGREN, Va. –
College students do not always know what they want to major in when they get to college. As high school seniors, students across the country commonly hear questions berating them about the future: Are you going to college? Where are you going? What are you majoring in? What do you want to do with that major? According to a study done by the National Center for Education Statistics, “about 30% of undergraduates in associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs who declared a major changed their major at least once” within three years of initial enrollment.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) hosted a virtual “Imagine Your Future” Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) event, Sept. 21-22. Nearly 75 students tuned in to the two-day virtual event, which featured employees in STEM from practically every department speaking to students about their experiences. Many current employees shared that they were in that 30% of undergraduate students that changed their majors at least once, but they couldn’t be happier with their respective careers at Dahlgren.
One speaker encouraged the students to “be open to the opportunities you have and the way you communicate with others – regardless of whether or not someone is in your field” because those skills and connections could make a huge impact.
As current NSWCDD employees shared their path to Dahlgren, some could pinpoint exact moments that their career path changed, while others recalled wanting to be in their field as a child.
“When I was a child, I didn’t want to be an engineer,” said U.S. Air Force veteran and lethality engineer Serita Seright. “When I was in the military, I spoke to a counselor who suggested an engineering degree. That conversation changed my path.”
The Chief Technology Office handled outreach efforts, sharing the event with many of NSWCDD’s educational partners and Dahlgren’s Human Resources team reached out to schools via Handshake. As a result of the event, NSWCDD’s application pool grew by almost 20 candidates, with several other applications receiving updates.