MRO Magazine

Survey: STEM Professionals Cite Real World Experience as Career Catalyst for Students


May 4, 2015
By Business Wire News

ROCKVILLE, Md.

A new national survey of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals carried out by the MdBio Foundation, Inc. (MdBio) in collaboration with The Science Advisory Board® finds that the majority of STEM professionals credit real-world, hands-on experience as the most critical factor in landing a STEM job. A majority of the 523 STEM professionals surveyed said they chose to pursue a scientific career before they entered college, shedding new light on the need to develop stronger partnerships between K-12 educators and STEM employers.

“These findings are a clarion call for stronger ties between K-12 schools and STEM employers,” said Brian Gaines, president and CEO of MdBio. “The survey makes clear we need a vastly improved plan to offer K-12 students more experiential STEM education opportunities if the U.S. is to be a global leader in STEM workforce development. At MdBio Foundation, we intend to lead by example. In the coming months we will build on our current strategies to help better connect K-12 educators with STEM employers to give them a roadmap to develop the next generation of STEM leaders in Maryland.”

Key findings of the survey include:

  • A vast majority of respondents strongly believe that, given a choice, they would pick the same educational pathway (72 percent) and the same career pathway (76 percent) again.
  • 58 percent of those surveyed decided to pursue a STEM career prior to entering college.
  • 53 percent said hands-on experience — such as internships and summer jobs — was the most important factor in landing a full-time STEM job. In fact, this experience was more important than the reputation of their college, their degree or networking.

The 2015 STEM Education Survey, which is available on request, uncovers the catalysts that drove these professionals to pursue a STEM career, their current job satisfaction and challenges for students currently considering a STEM career. The Science Advisory Board, sponsored by BioInformatics, LLC, conducted the survey, and an in-depth review of their findings will take place on May 9 at MdBio’s ATLAS STEM College + Career Expo at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md.

“Our mission is to help create and facilitate these opportunities in Maryland, but we cannot do this alone,” Gaines added. “We urge leading STEM companies to engage more with schools to enhance student curriculum so that it better reflects real world challenges and provide them with more direct access to STEM professionals who can share their knowledge and experience, and advise students on career development.”

About MdBio Foundation

MdBio Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization that provides innovative, effective, and experiential STEM education opportunities with a focus on bioscience. The Foundation’s interdisciplinary approach uses science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to explore real-world, problem-centric curriculum that bridges school, community, health, and business. MdBio Foundation’s flagship education program MdBioLab, a mobile laboratory for high schools, has provided quality educational experiences to more than 110,000 students throughout the state of Maryland since its launch in 2003. The Foundation also operates other celebrated STEM education programs such as the Young Science Explorers Program for middle school students, the Maryland BioGENEius Award, and ATLAS: Advancing Tomorrow’s Leaders + STEM college and career symposia. For more information, visit www.mdbiofoundation.org.

About The Science Advisory Board

The Science Advisory Board is an international community of tens of thousands of scientific and medical experts. Its mission is to be the catalyst for future scientific and medical breakthroughs. Members of this global network of research, development, and manufacturing professionals showcase their knowledge, share their experiences, and advise and consult for leading life science and analytical companies — thereby shaping the future of scientific technology.

Media Contact:
Brad Wills for MdBio Foundation
240-752-7171
bwills@wills-pr.com