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“Critical Thinker” | Elements of an Elite STEM Professional…

COVER SUBJECT | ELEMENT #5 Critical Thinker

“The thought process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, and evaluating information gathered from observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to action.”

One of my all-time favorite TV shows Mac­Gyver, displayed the highest level of critical thinking a person can possess. C’mon I know it was only TV, but Mac could skillfully ana­lyze any situation and find a way of escape. The show became so predictable and it seemed like the greatest challenge for the writer of the show was to place Mac in the most challenging and unlikely positions of escape. Mac was a pure ex­ample of a critical thinker, he exemplified keen obser­vation, and a phenomenal ability to pull from his previous experiences. He was able to develop a guide to action that would free him or anyone else need­ing to be saved.

One danger millennials often face is not utilizing our critical thinking ability. Hon­estly, before reading the definition, how many of you could’ve defined what critical thinking is? We live in an era where things are thought out for us already. For example, how many phone numbers do you have memorized or how many DOS codes do you use to launch your computer programs? Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not! But it supports my argument that though the technology we love so much, life has been made eas­ier for us, at the same time, it limits the use of our mental thinking.

Now I didn’t say technolo­gy needs to be banned and shouldn’t advance, but we should raise our awareness that even though it seems to make life easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean it makes us better. As the years pass by, people that have the abili­ty to be critical thinkers are going to be far and few between. If you take the time now to en­hance your critical thinking skills you will stand heads and shoulders above your competition in the field you’re currently in or decide to pursue.

The process to increase your critical thinking skills can be summarized in these 6 steps:

  1. Step 1: Identify the problem.
  2. Step 2: Identify all possible solutions.
  3. Step 3: Develop a guide to action.
  4. Step 4: Carry out your plan of action.
  5. Step 5: Find ways to improve on your ideas.
  6. Step 6:  Start the process all over again.

This piece comes to us from one of our amazing community members and STEMedia Partners, Ricky Venters. This new series is based from his book Live on E. His bio is below, be sure to check out his awesome website and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!

Ricky Venters is recognized as an Engineer of Impact. Defying the odds,completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and has achieved his Professional Engineering License. During his tenure in STEM related fields, Ricky recognized the increasing competitiveness in the industry and sought to become a source of inspiration and mentor to students and young professionals in STEM related fields. Follow him now!

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Ricky D. Venters, Jr. P.E.

rickydventers@gmail.com