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STEM is Society

STEM fields provide the tools and technologies that keep our society running while also making sure that our interactions with the planet are clean, safe, and sustainable. Some of the ways that STEM directly impacts society include the development of alternative/renewable energy sources, providing safe infrastructure, cybersecurity and financial systems, to even solving crimes with forensics. SUNY Potsdam offers an array of programs that will allow graduates to have a real impact on society. Some of these programs include:

  • Environmental Studies: Environmental Studies graduates bridge the gap between the social sciences and the natural sciences offering solutions to humans’ use or misuse of the environment.
  • Anthropology: Location and preservation of cultural resources (e.g. archaeological sites and historical landmarks). Forensic anthropologists are experts in the recovery and examination of human skeletal remains. Their work has helped reunite families with the remains of their loved ones who were POW/MIA, refugees or victims of homicide and natural disasters.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics provides tools and models to better understand business cycles, analyze statistical data collected by market research analysts, and determine levels of risks involved in a business strategy. Sophisticated mathematics is key to developing new products in the finance market (some are called derivatives), determining their prices, and the associated risks involved.     
  • ChemistryForensics teams include analytical chemists, who are trained in the use of scientific instruments such as GC-MS and fluorescence spectroscopy. 
  • Geology: Geologists impact society in a variety of ways from finding and extracting many of the resources our technology and infrastructure is built on, predicting and preparing for natural disasters, to teaching the public about dinosaurs.
  • Computer Science: Computer Scientists provide the technology and Information Technology (IT) that keeps our society safe and operational. Computer Scientists also create software that models and makes predictions about market behavior in the stock markets and real estate.

We don’t just create good scientists; we build the next generation of educated global citizens trained to tackle the world’s problems in innovative and thoughtful ways.

The WISER Center represents a place for students and faculty to come together to learn about sustainable agriculture, urban farming and ecology. The skills that students gain working in the WISER Center prepare them for careers that directly impact our society’s food production. Learn More

Archaeologists study soils, sediments and stratigraphy to evaluate how landscapes changed through time. Insights drawn from these analyses enable archaeologists to evaluate the relationship between geomorphology and cultural processes through time.

Dr. Lily Li, associate professor of physics, uses 3-D printers to manufacture face shields for healthcare workers during the covid-19 pandemic.

Alumni Spotlight

Just three years after graduating from SUNY Potsdam, geology major Kate Grisi ’16 has already gone on to achieve great things. She received a master’s degree in geology and a certificate in geographic information science from the University of Texas at El Paso. She now works as a Geospatial Analyst for the Department of Defense (DOD)—a position where she is tasked with monitoring and assessing foreign military capabilities. Learn More