A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, an agency within the Department of Education, has found that 23 percent of students entering college in 1995-1996 majored in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field at some point over the first six years of their college career. Enrollment data indicates that students favored biology, natural sciences, computer sciences, and engineering equally well. Math and the physical sciences were much less popular, each comprising only 1 percent of all undergraduates. STEM enrollment differed by gender, with nearly a third of male undergraduates majoring in a STEM field at some point during their college career versus 15 percent of all female students. The gender gap was much smaller for the biological/agricultural sciences, with 8.0 versus 6.3 percent of male and female students majoring in the discipline, respectively. The report also found that students majoring in STEM fields were more likely to attain their bachelor’s degree than students in non-STEM fields. Seventy one percent of students entering the biological sciences graduated with their bachelor’s degree or were still enrolled six years after entering college as compared to 53 percent of all STEM entrants.
In other education news, some American students are still at the top of the game when it comes to Biology. This year at the 20th annual International Biology Olympiad in Tsukuba, Japan, Team USA again garnered four gold medals, for the third year in a row. Furthermore, U.S. students placed 1st and 2nd in the world on the theoretical portion of the examination. The four member team was selected from nearly 10,000 students from across the U.S. who participated in the U.S.A. Biology Olympiad this year. Since 2003, every U.S. team member has medaled, bringing home 20 gold, 6 silver, and 2 bronze medals.
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