The Urban Dictionary defines “nerd” as “a four letter word, but a six-figure income.”
While six figures might seem like a pretty strong draw for students considering a career in the sciences, young women are looking for more, according to Anne Kern, a curriculum and instruction faculty member at University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene.
“Research shows that young women pursue careers in science for more altruistic reasons than young men,” says Kern, who researched and co-authored “Attracting High School Females to the College of Science,” a study published in the journal, The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, earlier this year.
“In a word, young women want meaning,” Kern said. “They want their scientific work to have meaning. They want the science they do to have applications that solve real-world problems.”
Scott Wood, dean of the College of Science at University of Idaho, urged and has supported the development of a program to bring more young women into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math – or the STEM disciplines. Kern, working with microbiologist Dave Newcombe, developed a program tailored to North Idaho. The Women in Science program shows girls that science can have meaningful impact in their own back yard.