Thursday, April 4, 2013

STEM careers demand risk-taking

While 95 percent of teens agree that risk-taking is required for innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — careers, 46 percent say they are afraid to fail or uncomfortable taking risks to solve problems, according to an ASQ survey conducted by Kelton Global.

The survey, which was fielded in January in advance of National Engineers Week Feb. 17–23, reveals that students’ pressure to succeed may be driven by parents, of whom 81 percent are uncomfortable if their child does not perform well in sports, extracurricular activities or social situations. Of those parents, 73 percent say they feel uncomfortable when their child gets bad grades.

While nearly half of students are afraid or uncomfortable about failing, Cheryl Birdsong-Dyer, an ASQ member and professional process engineer, said failing — and more importantly, trying again — is a pivotal skill in problem solving.

According to the survey, 88 percent of students say they feel the pressure to succeed, 71 percent of those 88 percent say failing a class makes them feel they have not succeeded. Seventy-eight percent of girls feel unsuccessful when they fail a class, compared to 64 percent of boys. ASQ

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