Press Enterprise has a great article on the value of fostering a passion for the sciences in girls and young women. The benefits for girls from a continuing and STEM focused education are many. From a strictly fiscal perspective a college degree generates about $1.5 million more, over a career, than a high school diploma. a STEM based degree adds half a million to that total and with 77% of modern jobs requiring some kind of STEM proficieny exposing girls to the sciences at a young age seems a no brainer.
With STEM-based degree: Add $500,000.
Modern jobs: 77% require STEM proficiency.
Lack of interest: About 6,000 females are born each day in the U.S.; 400 will major in a STEM field in college.
From the article:
As a freshman biology major at UC Riverside, Roselyn Tran was so captivated by a physics class, she wondered aloud to a classmate if she should switch to a physics major.
“She said ‘Good luck. You’ll be the only girl in the physics department,’”
Tran not only aced the physics class, but was inspired to work to change the status quo so that women studying STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – were not viewed as an anomaly but an everyday part of the university experience.
In November, 2014, Tran’s inspiration became a reality at University Heights Middle School with the “SISTERS” program, which has UC Riverside women science ambassadors serve as role models for about 50 7th- and 8th-grade girls.
SISTERS, which stands for Success in Science and Technology: Engagement with Role Models, aims to spark an interest in mathematics and science in girls who are at an age where some studies show interest in those subjects wanes.
University Heights teachers were asked to nominate girls who weren’t straight-A, but showed a potential to excel in science and math, said assistant principal Kathryn Grimble.
Over the past five months, the students have toured the science learnng laboratory at UC Riverside and the Metropolitan Museum in downtown Riverside, participated in an experiment by an environmental engineering graduate student, and had a presentationon on space research by Gabriela Canalizo, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside.
Science ambassadors attend every event and interact individually with the students, offering insights and answering questions.
“The idea is to pass along our passion for math and science,” Tran said. “We want to boost their confidence. To let them know that whatever field they want to go into, they have support.”