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STEM-Centric Career Assessments

Closing the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics seems to be a common theme in the U.S. as well as cross-nationally. For example, toys gendered for young girls are now being geared towards building, computing math, and exploring the natural sciences. Additionally, multiple programs exist at a national level encouraging middle and high school women to participate in camps to build confidence and break down barriers that hold them back from pursuing innovation and leadership.

However, what support is out there for Postdoctoral students nearing the end of their role as a part of a university research team? Most of the time these students have been sequestered away in lab, spending all of their time focused on their research tasks, gaining a plethora of knowledge in their specific content area. In regards to the next step, there’s a large learning curve that must be addressed to aid in the shift from “lab rat” to full-time faculty.

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Up until recently, the majority of human development literature on masculinity and femininity has held to the assumption that males and females are inherently different from one other (Schock & Schwalbe, 2009). That is, research has spent an ample amount of time focusing on constructing and disseminating the concept of “gender roles”. This view of male and female as different and opposite has deep historical roots that affect the types of research questions scientist study, thus affecting the material that the  general public recieves (Mustin & Marecek, 1988). Science forwarding the concept of “gender roles” has numerous implications in forwarding gender stereotypes and social inequality. More specifically “gendered” research is a convincing explanation that has been offered for explaining the gender gap in engineering, mathematics, computer science, and physics (Hyde, 2013).

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Ignite her curiosity! A powerful way to convey that STEM subjects are open to all is by sharing stories of girls and women who love science and technology. Surprisingly, not only is it helpful to introduce girls to real-life women in STEM through biographies, but fictional stories can also serve to forward girls’ interest in STEM. Click HERE to access a list of fictional books for both children and teens staring girls who love science engineering and path.

From analyzing music, tracking down computer crime, to bringing extinct species back to life; there are an incredible amount of fascinating opportunities in the STEM field that many haven’t even heard of. In fact, there will be jobs available for high schoolers currently considering STEM – that don’t even exist yet. So, whether you’re obsessed with video games, or a science-fiction nerd, there are opportunities out there for you to pursue your passion AND thrive in a successful career.

Read this article that describes just 10 of the hundreds of possible careers in STEM to learn more.

Debbie Sterling, founder of GoldieBlox children’s toys explains the problem of why there are so few women in STEM. Watch her two-minute video to hear her opinion of how to fix it.

 

A new study suggests that women’s lack of confidence in their math skills may be one reason for the gender gap in the STEM fields.

The study used a national survey of 5,000 college students enrolled in first-semester calculus. Among all aiming to pursue STEM careers, 35% of women reported that they did not understand calculus well enough to continue to the next semester compared to 14% of men. This results suggest a lack of confidence, rather than a lack of mathematical ability, may be responsible for the high drop-out rate of women pursuing STEM careers. The authors postulate that if women persisted in STEM at the same rate as men Starting in Calculus I, the number of women entering the STEM workforce would increase by 75%.

The study appears in PLOS One.

Exploring career paths and learning about college has never been so fun! Education Planner is a great tool for middle and high school students to participate in engaging, interactive activities, while exploring how to learn about themselves, plan for a career, and even pay for school. Check out the career cluster activity to see what careers you would excel in!

To access the full site, click here.

Engineer Your Life is a fantastic site for high school girls examining whether the field of engineering could be a good fit for them. The site is with loaded dream jobs that depict inspiring women loving what they do, while making a difference. Not only will girls feel excited about the different career possibilities in front of them, they will feel empowered to trust that they can “make it happen” There are also sections for parents and counselors learn more about the various fields of engineering, why engineering is a great career, and how they can advise their students about the field of engineering.

To learn more, click HERE.