Tulsa students are more interested in science, technology, engineering and math than their peers across the U.S.
That’s the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance's takeaway from an annual study of STEM programs from The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience, at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital.
Students reported high interest in STEM activities, skills and careers despite two in five saying they hadn’t participated in science-related activities before.
TRSA Data Analyst Josh Walton said that high level of interest bodes well for the kids' futures.
"Through that interest, we hope that the careers will benefit from that. As we know, there is a gap in STEM job demand and what skills are actually out there," Walton said.
Also of note: Out of the 2,700 local students participating in surveyed activities like robotics camps and after-school programs, 80 percent were from underrepresented races and 51 percent were girls.
"There is a plethora of research that shows that there is a massive achievement gap across the United States," Walton said. "So, just having that pipeline open and making sure the resource is there for all students is amazing and to see that reflected in the results is awesome."
PEAR Institute also evaluates programs’ quality. TRSA looks at the studies to figure out how to keep pushing programs forward.
"I know for next year we really want to focus on our professional development programs and making sure they’re of high quality, because it all kind of starts with instruction, right?" Walton said. "And we want to make sure that is of high quality. Then it will leak down to our students, and then all of this is kind of a domino effect."
Walton says any organization offering a STEM program can participate in the ongoing study.