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Factors Affecting Students' Capabilities to Pursue a STEM Field

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This paper explores factors to study why the number of students in STEM are not as high as they could be. Based on both Veda and Soumya's personal experiences, factors

This paper explores factors to study why the number of students in STEM are not as high as they could be. Based on both Veda and Soumya's personal experiences, factors were chosen to understand their impact on whether a high school student would choose a STEM major in their college of choice, which could lead them to having a career in STEM. The factors explored will be location, grade level, school, parent/guardian involvement, teacher involvement, media influences, and personal interest. Data was collected through surveys sent to both high school and college students. The high school data came solely from schools in the Phoenix area, whereas college students' data came from across the world. These surveys contained questions regarding all of the above factors and were crafted so that we could gain further insight into each factor without producing bias. Each factor had at least one personal experience by either Veda or Soumya. Many of the survey responses gave insight to how and why a student would decide to pursue STEM or why they did pursue STEM. The main implications derived from the study are the following: the importance of a good support network, active parent/guardian and teacher involvement, and specifically active science teacher involvement. Data from both college and high school students showed that students highly valued a science teacher. One recommendation from this thesis is to provide a training for teachers to learn about how to connect concepts they teach to real-world applications. This can be administered through the district so that they may bring in anyone they feel is qualified to teach such topics such as industry professionals or teachers who specialize in teaching STEM. The last recommendation is for parents to participate in a workshop that will inform them of how to be more involved/engaged with their student.

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  • 2016-12