Wanted: A Nation of Bill Nyes. Making science mainstream, fun, and relevant. Part 3. « Taking Science to the People
As many have noted, the number of students who pursue a career in a STEM field fall well short of the demand from industry and see this as the problem. On the other hand, I see this as the result
of the problem. At some point between toddler years and middle school, the inherent curiosity of a child fizzles; overtaken by media and gadgets. Have a question? Look it up on the Google app (I’m not criticizing Google. It is the best tool for any scientist). We, and our children, are constantly connected to everything going on in the world. For some it is politics or business, but for our children, it is Justin Bieber
and Taylor Swift
. To me, again, this is not the problem.
STEM has an image problem in the United States. (A great survey sponsored by Microsoft showing the perception of STEM by students and parents can be foundhere
). According to a study
by Lenovo, the second leading hesitation to a career in STEM for U.S. students is that it requires too much work or school. The number one reason being that the student doesn’t feel confident in their ability.
Here is the disconnect…if the passion and curiosity of the world around you and how to make it better is not there or hasn’t been curated, a STEM career is considered too much work. My Ph.D. took 6 and a half years to complete. I never once considered giving up or considered it too hard or too much work. To me, it wasn’t work. I felt lucky to be able to do what I loved and get paid for it.