Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, Department of Biology and NSERC Chair Women in Science and Engineering, (Atlantic Region), Mount Saint Vincent University, and her research team have completed the first phase of their five year study.
Their objectives were to understand (i) the attitudes of grade 7-12 students in Atlantic Canada towards STEM subjects; (ii) their engagement in STEM activities; (iii) who they consider to be influencers of their career choices; and (iv) their knowledge of subject requirements for STEM careers. Specifically, they were interested in any gender differences among the survey respondents.
Their results demonstrate that the only really effective means to increase the likelihood for women to consider STEM careers is to expose them to highly interactive and engaging STEM activities. Ideally, this should be done before girls reach high school when they may have already opted out of studying STEM subjects.