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Colleges Move to Close Gender Gap in Science

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Michelle Santacreu, a first-year student from Tampa, landed one of Worcester Polytechnic Institutes new scholarships.

As more high-paying jobs require a degree and expertise in things like computer coding or mechanical engineering, U.S. colleges and universities are racing to fill a pronounced void in qualified candidates, particularly among women.

Credit: Matthew Healey/The Wall Street Journal

Colleges and universities are aggressively courting more women to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in order to address a profound gender gap in these fields and in the STEM workforce.

"Those gaps aren't going to close themselves without some commitment, some effort, and some resources," says the American Association of University Women's Kevin Miller.

Although women comprise more than 50% of students on U.S. college campuses, federal data estimates they only receive about two of every 10 degrees in scientific disciplines.

An analysis of U.S. Department of Education data found women as a share of STEM degree recipients at the bachelor's level and higher increased at nine of the 10 largest such programs between 2012 and 2016, and six currently award at least 33% of those degrees to women.

Columbia University's approach includes hosting more events for aspiring female engineers, and enabling teenagers to interact with faculty and college students.

From The Wall Street Journal
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