A new survey of U.S. teens finds some encouraging signs in their beliefs about careers related to science and technology -- but also finds a substantial number of the teens lack role models in those areas.
Americans sometimes express concern about the country's future capacity to innovate in science and technology. But a new survey offers at least one hopeful sign: 85% of U.S. teens surveyed recently by the Lemelson-MIT Program expressed at least some interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and 80% feel that their school has prepared them to pursue a career in one of those fields, if they choose to. One big motivator: Protecting the environment. Thirty percent of students surveyed indicated that the idea of helping and protecting the environment would most inspire them to pursue a scientific/technology-oriented career.
But the survey also highlighted some obstacles. When the teens were asked what would most discourage them from pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics the most common answer -- chosen by almost one-third of the students -- was not knowing anyone who works in those fields.