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STEM News Roundup: 1960s Graduates Discuss Challenges for Women

STEM News Roundup: 1960s Graduates Discuss Early Challenges for Women in STEM

This week in STEM, women and budding children are again the focus. From a new series that compares the experiences women had studying STEM in the 1960s to a recent "STEM Career Day" for high school students, getting more women and early learners into STEM fields is again the hot topic of the week. 

1960s Graduates Discuss Early STEM Challenges for Women

In a three-part series for the Brown Daily Herald, women who studied at the university's Pembroke college- the college specifically designated for women until 1971- reflect on their difficulties pursuing STEM majors in the 1960s.

The series touches on how many of the issues that exist today- lack of role models and social pressure- affected women even more so as they tried to break into STEM fields.

"'For me, a source of emptiness at Brown was (that) I don’t remember ever really having a personal relationship with professors outside of class. Having become a university professor myself, I know how much motivation kids need in terms of professional development,'" said Jane Connor, a 1965 graduate who studied math but later took on psychology, according to the article.

It also discusses how life sciences have attracted more women than physical sciences- a trend that started then and continues on today. "But while female participation in STEM fields has increased nationwide, the gap experienced in the 1960s remains to this day, and there are still significantly more women in the life sciences than physical sciences," the article said.

Read the full article here.

Opinion: Start Kids Young in STEM for Country's Sake

Using dismal statistics as a call to action, one Forbes contributor insists that parents and educators get kids thinking about STEM education early on.

According to the Level Playing Field Institute, the United States ranks 52nd in the quality of math and science education and 27th among developed nations for students receiving degrees in these same fields. "[W]e must support Millennials in receiving the education and training they need to lead the way," contributor Neale Godfrey said. She insists the problem be addressed at school and at home for the sake of the U.S.' future in a competitive market.

Read the full article here.

College President Seeks $1 Million in Funding for STEM Computer Program

Les Pruce, the president of Evergreen State College in Washington, has asked law makers for $1 million to fund its computer science program.

"The new money for computer sciences can add three full-time faculty members and triple the capacity of the computer sciences program, which has a waiting list of at least 50 students, according to Purce," said an article on the Bellingham Herald. He also said his program is developed to appeal to women and minorities, who notoriously make up a small share of computer science students.

Read the full article here.

Study's Findings Indicate Why Women Avoid Computer Science

“Anatomy of an Enduring Gender Gap: The Evolution of Women’s Participation in Computer Science" analyzed students' interest in computer science over a 40-year period and has found reasoning behind the steady decline in women pursuing computer science.

In 2011, the last year for recorded data, only 15 percent of computer science majors were women. The study speculates that one of the biggest factors is a low confidence in math and a general misunderstanding of the social factors involved in the field, according to an article on

Read the full article here

School Holds STEM Career Day

A San Francisco high school held its very first "STEM Career Day" for over 100 freshmen and sophomores to give them insight into what STEM careers are like.

"Over the course of the day, STEM professionals spoke with students about their careers, how they became interested in STEM, and the obstacles they have faced. The students visited different workplaces, including a number at UCSF, such as the Human Performance Center, a parasite lab and the Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics (RBVI) group," according to the University of California San Francisco.

The endeavor had a wide range of support throughout the community and likely will be an annual event.

Read the full article and check out pictures from the event here.

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