Attitudes of Middle/High School Students from High Needs Schools Regarding STEM

  • NSF Award #1540699
  • Registration Current Noyce Scholar

  • First Name Emily
  • Last Name Pearson

  • Discipline Math
  • Institution Lewis University


America has a growing demand for careers in STEM fields. The Bureau of Labor statistics reported that overall STEM employment will grow 13% over the next 10 years, which is higher than the national average for job growth. Despite this growing need, the Department of Education attests that too few students pursue STEM related careers. Those that do tend to be white, non-Hispanic males. Thus, minorities and females are underrepresented in STEM related careers. What causes this disparity? Many American middle schools and high schools offer after-school activities. It is our assumption that schools that offer these activities, most likely offer STEM related after-school programs. Is there a correlation between the availability of STEM related after school programs and the amount of school funding? Are males encouraged to pursue STEM careers more so than females? Similarly are minorities encouraged to pursue STEM careers? Our research will consist of three phases. For the first phase, we will analyze contemporary studies. For the second phase, we will administer a questionnaire to local high needs middle and high school students. Our survey will provide demographic data, show availability of STEM resources, and detail the students’ interest and knowledge in STEM fields. The final phase is to analyze our data and present our findings. Our study will explore the variables that may impact the desire middle school and high school students from high-needs school districts have to pursue careers in STEM.

Posted on July 6, 2017