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Program Aims to Boost Interest in Technical Careers

By MSĀ­ News

October 8, 2009

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Michigan State University (MSU) is creating a program that will better prepare high school students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The program will help students develop the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors needed to meet the educational requirements for pursuing STEM studies.

MSU professor Barbara Schneider says young people are often exposed to high-profile careers by TV shows and movies, but they might not know what types of courses and extracurricular activities would help prepare them for such occupations. The MSU program will apply a school-wide model to a rural school and an urban school in Michigan classified as economically disadvantaged and that has lower-than-expected rates of students going to college. "The whole-school design allows for the inclusion of students who may not have identified with a career in STEM due to lack of information and exposure," Schneider says.

The three-year program is funded by a $1 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. The program will advise ninth graders on their courses, provide three types of mentors, prepare students for college entrance exams, assist with the college admissions process, and offer the necessary resources to teachers, principals, and guidance counselors.

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