First and foremost, we are so sorry there was no blog post last week!! To make it up to you, we crafted an especially informative blog post for this month's Best for Last series. Once in a while, we'll field questions from the public about our mission and why STEM education is so important. With the help of Visual.ly* and some other helpful resources, we've pooled together some helpful infographics that help paint a picture of the dire need to revamp STEM education in our nation.
This particularly sobering infographic shows how we are losing droves of potential innovators and pioneers in STEM: 75 percent of K-12 students talented in math and science decide not to pursue STEM as a field of study in college. What's worse, 43 percent of STEM college students choose not to work in the field after graduation, and more and more STEM experts are leaving their profession over time.
So what's holding back our youth? A survey of 16- to 25-year-olds around the U.S. breaks down some of the barriers keeping them from pursuing a career in STEM. Notably, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents don't think their education focused enough on innovation.
Complicating matters further, our long-term future demands greater innovation and output from STEM fields. The U.S. alone will have more than 1.2 million job openings in these areas. If our youth doesn't seeking these professions, who will fill these important positions?
And it's not just that we need more STEM professionals — we need more women and minorities represented in these fields, as well. According to this infographic, even though minority students report wanting a STEM career just as badly as their white and Asian counterparts, nearly three-quarters of all scientists and engineers are white. Another one shows women represent less than 25 percent of all STEM professionals.
But there's good news. The growing need for innovators has caught the attention of both the public and private sectors, and a growing number of nationwide initiatives are now aimed at investing greater time and energy into boosting STEM education. This infographic demonstrates the future demand of STEM professionals, including experts in computer sciences, engineering and physical sciences.
We hope these links are a helpful way to visualize the need for better and more widespread STEM education. Are there any insightful long-form features, infographics or videos you've seen that help highlight this important issue? Leave a comment or link below.
*If you couldn't tell already, all of us at The Think Tank love Visual.ly. For fun, we are throwing this in here: The Science of Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.