University looks to draw students to STEM education

Many students say their teachers don't focus on STEM fields.

Arizona State University officials will invite teenagers to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from experts in those fields. The campus program joins a host of initiatives that could attract more students to STEM education and cut down on the growing need for remedial college courses.

ASU on Jan. 25 will launch the STEM Network (STEMnet) – a group of university faculty members who will introduce middle and high school students to classroom activities for STEM education and teaching methods used in higher education.

STEMnet’s first four-hour session will be held at ASU’s Tempe campus Jan. 25, with a second session scheduled for May 17.

STEMnet was formed with funding from the National Science Foundation, according to the university.

ASU officials said an institution with professors and researchers who have excelled in STEM-related fields for decades would be a valuable asset in promoting STEM education among teens.

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“We have a lot of STEM research and education talent at ASU,” said Colleen Megowan, an assistant professor of science education in the campus’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “Teacher professional development and educational innovation are among our great strengths.”

Boosting middle and high school students’ interest in STEM education could help trim the ever-growing number of college students in need of remedial classes before they take credit-bearing courses in those subjects.

More than 60 percent of students in community colleges need some kind of remedial class–most often, math training–before they can take credit-bearing courses, according to recent studies.

This comes with a price tag: a study published this summer shows that community colleges spend more than $1.4 billion on remedial courses every year.

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