My Cool Stem Career

Ronald Hickland Jr., lead bowling ball designer, Ebonite International Inc. (Photo by Lonnie C. Major)

Ronald Hickland Jr., lead bowling ball designer, Ebonite International Inc. (Photo by Lonnie C. Major)

When it comes to choosing a career, our society puts a lot of emphasis on professional fulfillment. It makes sense.

The more passionate someone is about their work, the better they are at it. One of the reoccurring criticisms of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is that they aren’t social enough, they aren’t relevant to everyday life, and as a result they simply aren’t fun.

The truth is that a STEM degree is whatever you make of it. If you’re passionate about something, then a STEM career can catapult you to succeed in any number of professions including the food, fashion, and entertainment industries. Take these three STEM success stories, for example. From them you’ll find that the key to finding the perfect STEM job just might mean doing exactly what you love the most.

Ronald Hickland, Jr.
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

Ron Hickland Jr., 34, is proof that jobs in science and engineering aren’t isolated and lonely. As the lead bowling ball designer at Ebonite International Inc., the Purdue University mechanical engineering graduate bowls 40 hours a month, works with two teams of people across several states, travels globally to share his rare expertise, and gets the opportunity to rub elbows with celebrities such as “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Swizz Beatz, who want him to design customized bowling balls. He even has a patent on a bowling ball restoration product.

At age 15, while traveling with his father, a competitive bowler, Hickland met a bowling ball designer who explained to him that mechanical engineers design the core of the ball and chemical engineers design the cover stock or the outside of the ball.

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