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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Nation

Ahead of Higher Ed: STEM-educated women not getting as many jobs as men


Although studies show a relatively even divide between men and women employed in jobs across the United States, when you zoom in on science and technology, the gap is wider.

Inside Higher Ed reported that women hold only 25 percent of the jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are trying to change that for their graduates.

They originally surveyed alumni to see whether their curriculum, centered on projects rather than the typical lecture format, helped them after they left college, according to Inside Higher Ed, but what the study found was that women found the curriculum more helpful than men.

The survey asked how the projects-based courses prepared them for different aspects. More women than men identified with the “well” and “very well” options.

“They get excited about it, and they can begin to see, ‘Ah, this is how I fit into this,'” the director of the women in engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin, Tricia Barry, said to Inside Higher Ed. “It does draw them in and helps them not only to apply to those STEM fields but to stay in and graduate and go on to the work force.”

In order to inspire budding STEM students both male and female, UH is in the process of developing its own UH Center for STEM Teacher Professional Learning under former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar. She prioritizes STEM education at a young age and hopes to make that a pillar of the new UH center.

“Developing a pipeline for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will play a major role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy and is a critical component to helping our nation win the future,” Dunbar said in a UH press release. “To address the grand challenges of this great country, we need the new ideas, new companies and new industries created by STEM careers. This has been historically, and will be in the future, the key to great progress in the United States.”

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