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Connecting STEM and HVAC w/ Rachel Kaiser

Rachel and Eric Kaiser join us to talk about connecting STEM concepts to the trades. They also explain how to teach STEM in a way that sticks.

STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and math. In traditional classroom settings, teachers usually tout these subjects as the ones that lead to the most promising careers. However, STEM concepts are not limited to their respective subjects; we use many of those scientific and mathematic concepts in the trades as well.

Rachel believes that undergraduate programs would be more effective if they focused more on teaching critical thinking and less on making students meet requirements for degrees. Eric believes that traditional education needs to be more holistic; right now, trades education fixates on details; that approach may help for teaching specific tasks, but it doesn't broaden the students' knowledge.

We can start talking about STEM more broadly when we start eliminating stigmas around STEM topics. For example, many students dislike math, but many of those people still use math effectively in several real-world applications without knowing it. We can break down that stigma against math to start having productive discussions and connecting STEM to the trades and other careers. The next step is to spark interest in others so that they seek out new STEM knowledge.

The HVAC trade has many scientific concepts in play, even though we focus on diagnostics and field techniques at work. Most of our diagnostic skills are informed by the principles of heat transfer and phase changes.

Rachel, Eric, and Bryan also discuss:

  • HVACR Training Symposium
  • Undergraduate vs. graduate programs
  • University research and funding
  • Principles of algebra in real life
  • Gas laws and galvanic corrosion as chemistry concepts in HVAC
  • Theoretical vs. diagnostic vs. instructional applications
  • Continued learning vs. degree programs
  • Applications and limitations
  • Hands-on BEFORE theoretical
  • Choosing to learn
  • Improving safety and productivity through education

Learn more about Refrigeration Technologies HERE.

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