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Materials & Resources

STEM is Materials & Resources

STEM fields are responsible for the location, extraction, and production of the natural resources (e.g. mineral, biological, water) and materials that our society is built on. Jobs include positions in mining, agriculture, energy, forestry, fishing, cultural resource management, Park Service, and the Forest Service. If you are interested in finding, making and/or developing strategies for the sustainable use of resources, SUNY Potsdam offers many programs that could be right for you.

  • Mathematics: Mathematical modelling and simulation are essential to the proper management of resources. In addition, experts in Operations Research develop optimal algorithms for the management of large-scale resources.
  • Chemistry: Chemists are involved in designing and improving processes to turn resources into useful materials such as metals, petrochemicals. Chemists also work on developing materials for energy conversion, such as for fuel cells, and on the electrochemistry of materials for devices such as lithium-ion batteries. 
  • Geology: Geologists are tasked with locating, extracting, and managing water, mineral resources and energy resources. Many of the materials that we use in construction, technology, and even some food products come from the mining industry and required a geologist to locate and extract. Geologists also play a significant role in energy and water resources.
  • Computer Science: Computer Scientists create the software that supports resource development, planning, and management, as well as modeling and predictions for sustainable resource use.
  • Physics: Physics skills can be applied to problems concerning resource. For example, predictive analytics can be used by companies and governments to determine best practices for resource use and extraction.
  • Biology: Biologists focus on biological resources including food plants and animals by studying fisheries, agriculture, animal husbandry, and wildlife management. Sustainable and urban farming are important growing fields. Biologists may also work with various plants and animals for resources such as wood, clothing fibers, dyes and pigments, and many more. Biologist also contribute to the alternative energy sources by studying natural photosynthetic pathways to improve our efficiency in solar cells.
  • Anthropology: Cultural resources are regulated by federal and state governments. Archaeologists assess and mitigate the impact of development on these irreplaceable pieces of the past.

If it can’t be grown it has to be mined.  A geologist was responsible for locating and extracting the steel, concrete, copper, glass, and countless other materials used to build the world around us. Students in Geology laboratories learn how to locate and identify the minerals and rocks that contain these important natural resources.

The Biology program partnered with the Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research (WISER) Center give students practical experience with sustainable agriculture.

Geologists are responsible for powering our world and provide us with the light, heat, electricity and transportation that the modern world depends on. SUNY Potsdam geology classes teach students the skills they need to locate, extract, and develop alternative energy resources.

Alumni Spotlight

Just five years ago, alumna Erin Wagner ’13 was studying geology behind the walls of SUNY Potsdam’s Timerman Hall. Now she works as a geologist for ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in the world. Learn More