STEM careers

Survey: Boys have waning interest in STEM careers

STEM careers are more important than ever, but a new survey indicates the pipeline could dry up

Boys’ interest in STEM careers has dropped over the past year, while girls’ interest remains the same, according to an annual survey from Junior Achievement and Ernst & Young LLP.

Last year, 36 percent of surveyed male high school students said they wanted a STEM career, but this year, only 24 percent reported the same. For two years straight, just 11 percent of female high school students say they want to pursue a STEM profession.

Girls’ low interest in STEM education and careers isn’t exactly new–by middle school, many girls lose interest in and enthusiasm for STEM subjects for a variety of reasons, including the false perception that science, math, and technology classes aren’t “cool,” as well as a lack of female representation in STEM professions. Still, many initiatives and schools are working to combat this trend.

Project-based learning (PBL) might be one way to increase students’ interest in STEM, according to Texas educator George Hademenos. PBL’s student-centered investigation helps students develop creativity and problem-solving and is ideally suited for STEM-centered challenges.

Laura Ascione

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