STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

A DMACC Student Talks About Her STEM Research Project


​​​​Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) will help change the world. It focuses on problem solving and critical/creative thinking. STEM is also driving new innovations and ideas throughout the state and national economies.

Here are a few reasons to choose a STEM career:

  • Financial Security
    STEM jobs are in demand and they offer great pay and benefits. The average pay for a STEM job is $77,880 (average for all U.S. jobs: $43,460).
  • Workplace Variety
    From a communications center to a hospital to a water treatment plant to a National Park, STEM jobs are exciting.
  • Spark Creativity
    From designing computer games to amusement park rides, STEM fosters and values "out of the box" thinking.
  • Make a Difference
    You may pursue a new renewable energy source, create a hybrid plant to feed millions, or manufacture life-saving drugs. STEM helps people.
  • Opportunities
    From biology to zoology, there are multiple career opportunities.


Women in STEM

The US Department of Commerce recently reported that women only occupy 24% of the nation's STEM jobs. This a shocking number when you consider that women make up 48% of the country’s workforce.

Job openings in STEM industries are projected to grow by over 19% in the next decade making it more important than ever to support women in their academic and career goals within science, technology, engineering, and math.

The team at is extending support through the publication of two new guides:

Women in STEM: an editorial exploration on the state of women in STEM with several interviews from women in the industry and a collection of scholarships.

Career Guide for STEM: featuring paths of study, specializations, job options, as well as an interview with a woman with 23 years of experience working in STEM.

Mandy Kewitsch​​Mandy Kewitsch

​Hometown: Bl​oomington, MN

Years at DMACC: 2 years (2013-2015, including summer semesters)

Campus: Urban Campus, Ankeny Campus, West Des Moines Campus

Major: Associate in Science 

Why you chose DMACC: I knew I wanted to transfer into Iowa State University (ISU)​ after getting my two-year degree, but was not sure what I wou​ld end up majoring in yet. I chose DMACC because of how affordable it was the large course catalog, the transfer partnership with ISU, and the smaller class sizes.​

Influential professor, internship or group at DMACC: I had many great influences during my time at DMACC! Professor Patricia Westin was my math professor who really encouraged me to explore my interest in STEM, and she wrote a letter of recommendation for me when I was applying to participate in the NASA Aerospace Scholars Program.  The DMACC Honors Program was a great experience because it challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone, explore styles of leadership, and find my voice.

Best DMACC memory: The day I graduated is maybe my favorite memory. It was a day where every single night I studied, every single assignment I handed in, and every single test I took, led to a single moment that confirmed I worked hard enough to earn something that I otherwise would not have if I had not taken that first step into the admissions office back in 2013. 

How did DMACC prepare you for ISU: DMACC was the period where I built really foundational skills to succeeding in college: attend class every day, make time to read and study outside of class, and get involved on campus with groups relevant to your interests and your career path.

Major at ISU: Aerospace Engineering, with a minor in Non-Destructive Evaluation.

Awards or accomplishments: I received "Student of the Week" after the National Aerospace Scholar engineering workshop with NASA, I was a recipient of the Roy J. Carver scholarship, and I received my "Mastery of Community Leadership" this past summer. I have also had the opportunity to do undergraduate research projects under three different professors covering a range of material: multi-disciplinary optimization, building a helical computed tomography system, and the development of an open-source UAS platform.​

Career aspiration: I would like to pursue graduate degrees within Aerospace Engineering or Engineering Mechanics, with emphasis in either Systems Engineering or Non-Destructive Testing & Evaluation.

Advice to women pursuing STEM:

  • First and foremost: know that you have a place in STEM.
  • If you love what you are learning, then pursue it and learn everything you can about it.
  • Don't be afraid to say yes to opportunities, small and big, because you never know who you will meet or what doors may open for you.
  • You will face challenges along the way but remember that you're not just building a better life for yourself, but you're also paving the way for future generations of women in STEM.
  • Finally, two practical pieces of advice: go to class every single day-do not skip, no matter how much you want to-and learn how to code. :-)

Do you have any pictures of yourself, perhaps during your internship? I don't have a lot of pictures from my internship, but attached is a photo from my LinkedIn profile! ​

STEM Festival 2019

The sixth annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Festival held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC Ankeny Campus on October 28th.  Nearly 700 third through eighth graders and their parents attended the free event. Presenters from local business and industry, high schools and colleges, student and professional groups, and non-profit entities, took part in the two-hour free event. Below are some photos of the event. ​