Science, technology, engineering, and math — also known as STEM — is the backbone of nearly every modern industry. A STEM professional brings an unmatched level of expertise to the table that’s crucial for growth and success.
However, STEM-educated engineers are conspicuously absent when it comes to cannabis. In a still-developing industry, STEM professionals play an integral role in maintaining good marketing practices, staying compliant, and ensuring product integrity — to name a few.
Here’s how the expertise of a STEM professional can take an otherwise ordinary cannabis operation to the next level.
A STEM Professional at Higher Yields
Here at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting, I serve as the team’s Design and Build Engineer, a role in which I use my STEM education to help clients build the facilities of their dreams while ensuring the functionality and ergonomics of each space. I do all of this within the client’s budget.
But I wasn’t always the STEM professional I am today, and the path I took to get here was a little different. Although some people enter the cannabis industry right out of high school, I knew that as a Black, gay woman, I needed to bring something more to the table.
Forging my own path at Purdue University, I graduated with a degree in multidisciplinary engineering. The program enabled me to study an array of topics ranging from electrical, mechanical, and bioengineering to chemistry and thermodynamics. If you can name it, I probably studied it.
To be sure I could apply my degree as a STEM professional in the cannabis industry, I also pursued a minor in product lifecycle management (PLM), which gave me the know-how to follow a product or operation from ideation all the way to recycling.
PLM is extremely applicable to cannabis because many of our clients here at Higher Yields are new entrepreneurs. Thus, we do a lot of ideation prior to getting their product or operation off the ground. From there, we continue along the PLM process.
Applying STEM to the Cannabis Industry
In both the United States and Canada, cannabis operations are seeking STEM professionals to take on the challenges of pioneering a growing industry. Some have begun studying plants on a cellular level to produce specific physiological effects. Others look to integrate A.I., blockchain, and even cryptocurrency!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to research and development, but that’s not the only responsibility of a STEM professional. In fact, maintaining integrity and fostering standardization are two of our most important responsibilities.
Of course, cannabis can be grown in a basement. People have done it for years and will likely continue to do so. However, as STEM professionals, it’s our job to ensure operations consistently develop each product with the utmost quality.
STEM as a Pathway to Social Equity
In cannabis, social equity is always a factor. The unique perspectives of STEM-educated women of color help combat the lasting effects of the war on drugs and promote social change.
When marginalized groups are in STEM positions, we can implement practices and cultivate mindsets and values that support those groups. In this situation, everybody wins, so it’s important to instill such practices, mindsets, and values within emerging states.
I got into this industry to use my passions for both cannabis and STEM to impact standards, inclusion, and integrity. STEM professionals make that happen.
STEM Professionals in Cannabis
For STEM students and engineers, there’s no shortage of opportunities to make real change. Reach out to your community and fight the stigma! For operators, find a STEM professional to help you put standards and integrity before all else.
Are you looking to bring STEM into your operation? Book a consultation and we can help!