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STEM News Roundup: Non-Inclusive Culture May Be Main Factor for Underrepresentation of Women in STEM

STEM News Roundup: Non-Inclusive Culture May Be Main Factor for Underrepresentation of Women in STEM

According to a new University of Washington study published this week, a masculine culture might be the main reason why women are deterred from majoring in male-dominated STEM careers.

"Women now earn about 37 percent of undergraduate STEM degrees in the United States, but their representation varies widely across those fields. Women receive more than 40 percent of undergraduate degrees in math, for example, but just 18 percent of degrees in computer science,” said

In a first-of-its-kind study that moves past addressing why women are underrepresented in STEM in general, the researchers aimed to address why women are underrepresented in these fields specifically.

The researchers focused on explaining why more women major in fields like biology, chemistry and math but not computer science, engineering or physics.

After their analysis, they identified the biggest factors as being “a lack of pre-college experience, gender gaps in belief about one's abilities, and a masculine culture that discourages women from participating,” said.

They concluded their research by determining that creating an inclusive culture for female participation is the best way to encourage more women to enter frequently neglected STEM professions.

Read more here.


'Geek Street Fair' Gets Children Excited about STEM

Google recently set up a Geek Street Fair in Union Square, New York City this week to encourage city students' interest in a future in careers like computer science. Participants were able to watch "a Minecraft robot create structures and try to construct their own using JavaScript, discover light-up origami design with illuminated paper creatures and learn to hone their STEM skills through golf—along with other activities,” said The New York Daily News.

The free event is one of the many ways both Google and New York City are trying to boost participation in fields like computer science. New York City has a goal of offering all public school students computer science education by 2025.

Read more here. 


Infographic Explains Barriers to Teaching Technology and Engineering in Schools

A new infographic based on the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)’s first Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment better explains some of the barriers teachers face when teaching the subjects in schools.

An overwhelming majority of school leaders said they are unable to teach the STEM subjects because of other curriculum demands, as well because of a lack of qualified teachers and aligned instructional materials. 

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Study of 60 Countries Finds STEM to be a National Priority

A study soon-to-be-released from the IEA's TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College looked at math and science trends in over 60 countries and regions and found increasing STEM participation to be a major initiative in nearly all of them.

As a result, most teachers studied have made significant changes to math and science standards to keep up.

Read more about the study, which will be released in full November 29, here. 


After-School Program Teaches Both Engineering and Global Awareness

An after-school program launching this month will be helping students in 16 states and six countries learn both engineering skills and a global perspective while participating in the weekly activities.

PBS KIDS Design Squad Global’s Clubs Initiative has been created to enhance the technical skills of STEM learning with the similarly important skills that are related to global competency.

The program will occur several times throughout the year, with registration currently being open for the next round.

Find out more and how to register here. 


Math Mornings? Lecture Series Focuses on Teaching Children Math

A Sunday lecture series from Yale’s Department of Mathematics with funding from the National Science Foundation has successfully helped area students and their parents learn math since 2012.

Lecturers with both math skills and an ability to translate these skills for non-mathematician understanding are brought in to speak at the public Sunday morning events—and so far, the events have been incredibly well-received.

"Each time, I’m always a little surprised by how well this is received . . . I have noticed that kids enjoy learning something conceptual, something they didn’t know before,” said the series’ creator, Yair Minsky, Yale’s Einar Hille Professor of Mathematics to YaleNews. 

Read about the series' upcoming dates here. 


Computer Science Trailblazer Ada Lovelace to be Subject of Big-Screen Biopic

Computer science trailblazer and daughter of poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace, will be the subject of a big-screen biopic produced by Monumental Pictures, says the Hollywood Reporter.

The biopic will focus on Lovelace being a woman of her time despite history books oftentimes neglecting to discuss her achievements.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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