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UnDisciplined: Taking the unconventional path

Findings of this study conclude the Utah STEM workforce has grown more than 20 percent since 2016, yet only 3.4 percent of employed women work in STEM as opposed to 10.5 percent of employed men.
Ron Levine
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Women make up a little more than half of all college students, but only right now about 19 percent of the students who are enrolled in engineering and technology, and only about 18 percent of those studying computing.

A variety of studies have shown that, by the second grade, about 75 percent of girls have already developed an implicit belief that science, math and engineering are subjects that belong more to boys. And once that belief sets in, it becomes harder to get back onto the typical path to education and careers in these fields — which is what makes unconventional pathways so important.

Reeja Jayan is the author of a chapter in a recently published book called Women in Mechanical Engineering, in which she shared her nonlinear path toward her current role as an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling <i>Lifespan</i> with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning <i>Longevity Plan</i> with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, <i>Superlative</i>, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.<br/>