Careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will see a 17 percent growth by 2018,nearly double that of other career choices.
But according to the Office of Institutional Research and Policy Analysis, women at Youngstown State University account for only 38 percent of all students majoring in STEM at YSU.
“The concern of women in STEM areas is a concern, both locally and nationally,” said Martin Abraham, dean of the STEM College at YSU.
He said that it isn’t a matter of aptitude.
“Women students can do very well in STEM, but may be discouraged based on cultural stereotypes. A lot of this happens throughout the middle and high school programs, unfortunately,” Abraham said.
Women with STEM jobs earned 20 percent more than women in non-STEM careers. The demand for these degrees convinced Kate Krossman to change her major from art to environmental studies.
“At first, I was intimidated by the math, but majoring in STEM isn’t as hard as people would make it out to be,” Krossman said.
Krossman plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in marine biology. But she also wants to use her art background.
“I’d really like to write and illustrate books about aquatic animals and their environment, so kids can learn about their importance,” she said.
The STEM College will work with the Williamson College of Business Administration to host a career development program for students. The first business co-op and internship expo will take place in the Williamson Building’s atrium on Oct. 17.
In addition, the Office of STEM Professional Practice Program provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field.
Sherri L. Hrusovski, coordinator of STEM Student Professional Services, said the program can “confirm or deny a student’s career choice.” She also noted that the STEM College’s career development plan begins during a student’s freshman year.
“A new course called Stem Career helps give majors the tools to make career choices,” Hrusovski said. “Help with networking, job etiquette and resume building are also a part of the course.”