Across the nation a higher priority has been placed on STEM education, but still, only a fraction of girls are likely to pursue a STEM career.
With a clear gap, Microsoft and Southern Utah University Professor, Dr. Shalini Kesar set out to understand why.
They surveyed 6,000 young women from ages 10 to 30 to examine their attitude toward STEM, school and the workforce pipeline.
- They found girls and young women have a hard time picturing themselves in STEM roles. They need more exposure to STEM jobs, female role models, and career awareness and planning.
- The females said encouragement from teachers and parents makes a big difference in their interest in STEM—especially when it comes from both.
- Educators can foster a “growth mindset” among their female students by tapping into their willingness to work hard for results.
Dr. Keser has been leading a STEM program for high school girls across 14 Utah and Nevada counties. In the last five years the university says more than 400 high schools have applied to the free online competition.
More on the Southern Utah Aspirations program here.