Since 2004, overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by more than 20 percent, according to a new report from STEMconnector, an online STEM news source. And the southern states of the U.S. have the highest concentration of students interested in STEM, at 36 percent, compared to other regions.
Released in February, the “Where are the STEM Students?” report revealed that mechanical engineering was the most popular major or career choice among STEM-interested students, at 20 percent, while biology was second at 12 percent.
A disturbing conclusion showed an increasing gender gap. Only 15 percent of female students express STEM interest compared to 40 percent for their male counterparts, the report states.
While the nation’s STEM workforce is expected to grow significantly through 2018, increasing from 7.4 million workers to 8.7 million workers, most of these jobs will be in computing (71 percent) followed by traditional engineering (16 percent), physical sciences (7 percent), life sciences (4 percent) and mathematics (2 percent). The popularity of mobile applications could be credited to the growth in computing jobs, as technology in apps alone has fostered 311,000 jobs.
Working with higher education planning service My College Options’ annual survey, STEMconnector profiles high school students in 50 states and the District of Columbia to better prepare the private and public sectors to address the nation’s future economic challenges.
For more information, visit www.stemconnector.org.