Thursday, August 09, 2012

LICD Endorses STEM

Now if only 14-25 year old girls/women would listen.  Then maybe there wouldn't be a pay gap.

But, oh, that's right.  Feelings are more important than equalizing pay and just plain complaining about it.

I'm sorry for being all "adult" and "realistic."

Carry on complaining and whining.  For some reason, it's apparently more enjoyable than accepting truth and doing something practical and productive about it.


Accounting student said...

Hai Captain Capitalism. we are using your comment about working with big four in our assignment. I hope you can share your real name here.Thanks in advance. :)

Captain Capitalism said...


It's Aaron Clarey. You may also want to research "progressive credentialism."

I think I also wrote a post about Big Four Accounting Exepreince somewhere in the past.

Best of luck!


Lib Arts Major Making $27k/yr At An Office Job said...

Not sure if we'll ever see another STEM boom like the one predicated by the Moon race.

Cap, the thing about practical science is that it starts out conceptual. We didn't decide to go to the Moon and then go there the next day - it took someone getting the idea and then being curious enough to pound on the job of finding out for years.

Compare that to our culture of instant gratification, buy now / pay later, flashy lights and bubbly champagne titillating our senses. A young Carl Sagan or Neil Tyson looked into their telescopes in the 70s / 80s and saw things that were only sketches in an Astronomy textbook or projections in a planetarium.

Nowadays we can watch 3d video tours of the universe on our smart phones. Our childish curiosity is blunted by overstimulation and the equivalent of intellectual baby-sitting. What I mean is that we're handed the answers instead of being handed a pencil and told to go figure it out.

And even in the holy STEM, the end result of working to state this curiosity may not be practical at all. How many scientists have toiled and died in obscurity, only to advance the real cutting edge of some esoteric scientific field a fraction of an inch? What did their life's effort yield?

I'm not trying to disparage them - I think their work is important. What I am trying to do is put it into perspective. Einstein said it closest that we, "Stand on the shoulders of giants." However, I would rephrase this to: We stand on the mountain that is made of the corpses of our ancestors. At best, we can hope to add a little more to the heap than the last guy. Sooner or later we'll get it high enough to understand what the meaning of the mountain truly is.

Unknown said...

What pay gap? Oh, you mean the career-choice gap? Yes. Definitely needs more attention.

Jane the Grad Student said...

@Lib Arts Major-- the STEM boom during the space race was due in part to a deliberate effort to make it that way: in other words, the goal was not "just" to get a man to the moon, but to leverage the wow factor with the specific intent of building competency in the sciences from grade school up. I heard this on a space race retrospective a few years back (Discovery network), from one of the flight directors (possibly Gene Krantz but I don't remember).

Lib Arts Major Making $27k/yr At An Office Job said...

@Jane - Certainly. I guess I figure that kids are "wowed" a lot more nowadays by iPads and IMAX theaters than the idea of traveling to a different planet or beyond our solar system.

Like I said, I think overstimulation might be blunting curiosity. Even so, it's the part of teachers to try and motivate students to care about a content area - I should know, having tried for over 3 years to get kids to care about writing essays in correct English. There are a lot of tools to do this, but in the end, you have to motivate in order to be a teacher. Kids rarely want to learn on their own.

Jane the Grad Student said...

@Lib Arts Major-- I hear you on the horrible writing; I teach undergrad biology lab and you should hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the ONE lab report they are required to write-- even though I give detailed writing guides for each section. Grrr....

As for the rest, I try as much as possible to tie the lab exercises to some real-world example of why they should care. However, I'm not sure it is, or ever will be, fully relevant to them until they get a few years down the road and go, "OH!!!! Is THAT what she was talking about?!"

Jane the Grad Student said...

PS-- we forgot the part about how today's students are so risk-averse that they don't WANT to get a pencil and figure it out for themselves. They'd rather be told the answer because that way it won't cost them any points on the quiz. They still think that "points on a quiz" are going to make or break their futures. They don't get that 2 points is a tiny price to pay compared to the month of lost work, lost weekends, wasted reagents, and supervisory displeasure that the REAL world dishes out when you make a math error. There is, unfortunately, a reason I know this...