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Survey: Professors Discourage STEM Pursuits

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Perhaps it is sadly unsurprising that a recent survey of women and underrepresented minorities who hold STEM degrees found that many of them were discouraged from seeking their careers. But, what was perhaps eyebrow-raising was that most of those affected said the disparaging words were uttered by college professors. The survey of 1,226 women and minorities, conducted by research firm Campos for Bayer, the pharmaceutical company, found that 40 percent had faced discouragement en route to their careers, says T.H.E. Journal. Fully half of Hispanic women and black men reported facing discouragement. All those surveyed were chemists or chemical engineers and are members of the American Chemical Society. Sixty-four percent of respondents have doctorates, 16 percent master’s, and 20 percent bachelor’s degrees. Most of those affected — 44 percent — cited a college professor as the offending source. Sixty percent said the discouragement occurred at a university, 41 percent said at high school, and 35 percent said in the workplace. To be sure, many also reported that teachers and professors had been among their staunchest supporters.

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