- Launching the Persistence Research in Science and Engineering (PRiSE)
project at the CfA Science Education Department.
- Women are still underrepresented in many disciplines in the sciences,
engineering, and mathematics. A critical transition point lies between
high school and college where disproportionately many young women abandon
an initial interest in the sciences. Having received a grant from the
National Science Foundation, researchers of the Science Education
Department at CfA are embarking on the first large-scale retrospective
cohort study of variables that predict persistence in the study of science
at the college level. Headed by Phil Sadler, the 3-year project is called
Persistence Research in Science and Engineering (PRiSE) and
and analyze data from about 4,000 college freshmen at 20 institutions, with
the goal of identifying the factors that strengthen interest in pursuing
the study of science in college, particularly for female students.
- In the
beginning phase of the project-where we generate testable hypotheses about
factors influencing young women's persistence in the sciences-we wish to
look beyond the hypotheses that we find in the scholarly literature. We
believe that practicing women scientists have a tremendous amount of
insight into this issue and have valuable ideas both about the causes
that turn young women away from science majors and about potentially
useful initiatives and interventions at the high school level that would
attract more women to science careers. We hope you will share your
thoughts with us and look forward to an interesting discussion.