Influence of Social Capital on the STEM Pipeline

The STEM pipeline is a national imperative, and this essay examines the theory of social capital, as described in Nan Lin’s book, Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action, and aims to provide a new perspective by extrapolating the potential influence social capital has on the STEM pipeline, specifically women and engineering, from K-12, to university, and into industry.

“I made it in engineering without help. They will too.” There is a problem, and They do need help!

“I made it in engineering without help. If these young women are meant to be engineers, they will too,” explained a female High School Engineering teacher. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard this woman utter these words after I asked how she recruited and retained young women into her classes.  Assuming she ignored the shock and horror on my face, she…

A White Teacher Talks About Race

A White Researcher Thinks About Race

Have you ever been the “only one?” The only female, the only African American, the only extrovert, the only one overweight, the only redhead? What does it feel like to be “only one?” What did it feel like as an adolescent to be the “only one?”  [pp 3, 91] Any different than as an adult?  According to psychologists, adolescents love to be normal [p 66]. If…

A Case for Engineering in K-12

A Case for Engineering in K-12

In order to meet the forecasted demands for U.S. Labor in technical areas that require scientific and mathematical training, it is imperative that educators and students begin to understand STEM professions and the role of engineers. By advocating science and math in a more holistic, inclusive and social context, more students will develop confidence in these subjects and be prepared to pursue a career in engineering. This article is useful for parents, educators, counselors, and administrators.