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Connecting Students to STEM Careers

Tom Mather, researcher, captures ticks
Tom Mather, researcher, captures ticks

Do you have a student who spends recess searching out bugs on the playground? While it may be atypical playground behavior, it could also be a great opportunity to plug a little career education.

Tom Mather, a University of Rhode Island researcher, spends a great deal of time outdoors catching bugs – and he’s an adult. It turns out, one can earn a living with an interest in bugs. Mather doesn’t just look for the bugs, he also studies them to improve the public’s education about tick-born diseases and how to prevent them. That means that part of his job includes catching them; last year he caught over 15,000.

That’s a lot of ticks. One reason that he could capture so many of them is that warmer weather has increased tick populations around the country, Georgia included. Researchers like Mather have given us great tips for staying tick-free while outdoors. That, in turn, keeps down tick-born diseases such as Lyme disease. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rely on field researchers like Mather to protect the public from potential hazards.

Your students may already show signs of potential life-long interests – like bugs. Share more career education with GPB’s STEM career content on Fast Forward.

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