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Engaging Girls in STEM

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Girls in the United States are no more interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers than they were 20 years ago. In a recent Florida Gulf Coast University and University of Colorado at Boulder study, researchers found that 66 percent of young boys and girls are interested in science. However, the study found that by the time they reach high school, many girls do not continue to study science. The researchers also found that in the workforce, men outnumbered women 73 percent to 27 percent in all sectors of STEM employment.

Getting more girls involved with STEM requires deliberate strategies on the part of educators to connect learning with real-life experiences, says Discovery Educator Network's Lance Rougeux. The Hathaway Brown School, an all-girls college preparatory academy, found that just 16 percent of girls entering a four-year college choose a STEM major, and just 8.5 percent actually graduated with STEM degrees.

U.S. high schools should combine college-prep coursework with hands-on experience in engineering research, robotics, and nanotechnology labs, says Hathaway Brown director Patty Hunt.

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