Survey says students are avoiding STEM classes

Gray watches over her students as they extract strawberry DNA during an in-class experiment.
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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) -- A recent study shows students are skipping science and math because they don't understand the vast career opportunities available in those fields.

According to a STEM survey conducted by Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company, 42% of people would have considered an education in STEM if they better understood a potential career path, and 1 in 3 didn't pursue a career in STEM because it seemed too hard.

WHSV spoke to a Bio Tech teacher at Turner Ashby High School who said she's heard it all before.

Carrie Gray said that students skip over her class entirely either because it's too hard or because they don't want a job in the STEM field.

But she's showing her current students that there's more to STEM than what meets the eye.

She focuses on doing in-class experiments, open discussions and field trips in order to get her students interested and engaged in the subject matter she loves.

"I really let them, as much as I can, lead the class in the direction they want it to go as far as if they're interested in something we'll explore it and go in that direction," said Gray.

One of Gray's students, sophomore Hazem Abdulla, has already found his path.

"It came easy because when I was little, my dad told me that engineers, they just sit in an office and drink coffee all day, so I was like yes I want to do that, so it just stuck with me," said Abdulla.

Abdulla is looking forward to enjoying his coffee as a petroleum engineer in the near future.

Gray says it's important for students to understand and enjoy the STEM field so they can explore the variety of careers available. She also encourages students to talk to their teachers and ask questions to learn more about what STEM has to offer.