Wednesday, August 13, 2014

All Sparks Are Good Sparks

I ran across a Scientific American web article from 2012 that had nice graphs relevant to CSWA ... my favorite type of information!  The piece was about different types of experiences that spark the interest of women and men in science and tech fields.  The results were based on a survey that Dr. Adam Maltese (Indiana U.) and Scientific American took of men and women at various universities pursuing STEM fields.  The results showed interesting differences in motivating factors.

The results become clear looking at the main graph.  It shows what factors motivated students to pursue STEM fields.

Women are more influenced than men by classes in school and specific teachers than men.  On the other hand, men are more motivated by building and tinkering.   From the article " … women were more likely than men to select a teacher, a class at school, solving math problems and spending time outdoors, whereas men were more influenced by tinkering, building and reading."


The survey found that men and women are not different in their reasons for staying in the field.  In both cases the motivation is passion for science and technologies.

What I take away from this piece is that there is a diversity of factors that influence people's thinking as they grow from youth to early adulthood.  There are different motivations for women and men to become interested in science and technology, which is great.  All sparks are good sparks.  It is useful to know that there are difference, not to pigeon-hole people into categories, but to make a variety of avenues available to students.

Here is the link to the article: