Early engagement in STEM activities identified as the only effective means of increasing girls’ consideration of science and math careers.

Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount) researchers studying what leads students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will release the full findings of their report at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 23. The results are based on close to 600 survey respondents (grade 7-12) from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

With a particular interest in gender differences, Career Choices and Influencers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: an analysis in the Maritime Provinces found that the only effective means of increasing the likelihood for girls to consider STEM careers is by engaging them in highly active STEM activities. Ideally, this should be done before students reach high school at which point they may have already opted out of studying these subjects.

“Gender representation in STEM fields continues to be out of balance but our findings are encouraging,” says Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, Atlantic Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (WISEatlantic), and Associate Professor at the Mount. “We have found that female students participating in science fairs, competitions and camps are 2.7 times more likely to consider science and math careers. This shows great potential.”

According to the latest Statistics Canada report (June 2013), women make up 48 per cent of the Canadian labour force, yet under a quarter have an occupation in the natural or applied sciences. Engineers Nova Scotia reports that the number of female engineers in the province stands at only 12.2 per cent, close to the national average of 13.1 per cent.

Research Team Presentation

4:30-6:30 p.m., Thursday, January 23
Seton Academic Centre, Room 404
Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Highway

For more information:

Ben Boudreau, Public Affairs
t: (902) 441-0505