THE “EARLY STEM DROP-OFF” PROBLEM:
Recent findings show that by grade 8, fully HALF of US kids have already given up on STEM careers. Far too often, this happens for the wrong reasons, based on kids’ misperceptions that these topics are too tough, too intimidating, or not relatable enough. The ongoing -and much welcome- boom in K-12 focused STEM educational technologies is creating great new tools for correcting this, but the vast majority of these have so far focused only on the “TEM” part (i.e. Technology, Engineering and Math), leaving the “S”, or Science, part markedly underserved.
Of these, the more biomedically-relevant areas of life sciences stand out as an especially regrettable blind spot, both in view of their broad range of highly desirable career paths, and considering their fundamental societal importance as direct drivers for the wellbeing of humanity and of the living world around us.