State Starting Push For More Science, Math And Engineering Students, Especially Among Women

By Will Sentell
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Studies show that, in the next 10 years, workforce demand in Louisiana for STEM talent is expected to grow by 18 percent. But not enough students are in the pipeline now to fill those needs. A new 29-member panel called the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council will focus on how to boost student interest in science, technology, engineering and math. It will also focus on increasing the number of women with STEM degrees.

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Louisiana is about to launch a new bid to elevate one of the hottest fields in education, and improve on the dismal number of women in science, technology, engineering and math.

The targeted careers — known as STEM — will be the topic of an influential panel authorized by the Legislature earlier this year, and set to hold its first meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The goal is to boost student interest in science, technology, engineering and math; align those skills with fast-growing workforce needs and increase the number of women with STEM degrees.

Women make up only 16 percent, 12 percent and 23 percent of engineering, physics and computer science graduates respectively, according to state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell and the prime mover behind the push. Men account for 33 percent of STEM graduates compared to 10 percent for women.

“Women are very underrepresented in these fields,” said Hewitt, a mechanical engineering graduate herself.

The 29-member panel is called the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council.

The group, which is chaired by Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo, includes LSU President F. King Alexander; state Superintendent of Education John White and officials of a wide range of public school groups.

Others include officials of The Boeing Company, Century Link, the state Department of Economic Development and representatives of colleges and universities.

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *