A researcher says, the pathway to careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine (STEMM) begin at home.
According to Jon Miller, MSU Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies, and colleagues, parental influence and access to mathematics courses are likely to guide students to careers in (STEMM).
The findings were presented at a symposium titled "Tomorrow's Scientists and Engineers." at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"Failure to build and maintain a competitive scientific workforce in the decades ahead," Miller said, "will inevitably lead to a decline in the American standard of living."
Miller used data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, which kept track of nearly 6,000 students from middle school through college, attempting to determine what led them to or guided them away from STEMM careers.
According to Miller, "The pathway to a STEMM career begins at home." He said this is especially true in families in which children were strongly encouraged to go to college.
"Only four percent of students who experienced low parent encouragement to attend college planned to enter a post-secondary program and major in a STEMM field," he said. "This compares to 41 percent of students whose parents strongly encouraged college attendance."
The research also found that sons were slightly more encouraged than daughters to do well in science and math.