Careers In STEM
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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Ron Hickland Jr., lead bowling ball designer at Ebonite International Inc.

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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Join the Conversation

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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