By Tory Bruno
STEM directly affects the quality of our everyday lives, enabling us to work more effectively, giving us the time to pursue the things that enrich our existence and even extending our very life spans. This alone would be cause enough to justify a healthy pipeline of engineers and other scientists. However, STEM does so much more. For example, the chain of space exploration begins with mathematicians who create computational tools that engineers use to design instruments, that skilled technicians build, that rocket scientists launch into space, that collect data which, scientists use to answer fundamental questions. All of this allows us to better understand the most important question of all: What is our place in the universe?