Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 10: Developing Career Commitment in STEM-related Fields: Myths versus Reality

Helen M. Madill, Rachel G. Campbell, Dallas M. Cullen, Albert A. Einsiedel, Anna-Lisa Ciccocioppo and Margaret-Ann Armour


10. Developing career commitment in STEM-related fields: myth versus reality Helen M. Madill, Rachel G. Campbell, Dallas M. Cullen, Margaret-Ann Armour, Albert A. Einsiedel, Anna-Lisa Ciccocioppo, Jody Sherman, Leonard L. Stewin, Stanley Varnhagen, T. Craig Montgomerie, Cynthia J. Rothwell and Wendy L. Coffin Karen1 knew by the time she started high school that engineering was high on her list of career options. Throughout high school, summer positions with her father’s engineering firm gave her a good idea of the extent and variety of engineering careers, so she knew she wanted to enter civil and environmental engineering in university. She did well in her course work and did a co-op year with one of Canada’s leading engineering firms. There she gained experience that was directly related to her studies, made good connections, and developed her technical skills. Karen graduated with the professional engineering association’s leadership award, found an exciting job with a large civil engineering firm, and was soon engaged in a major project. She quickly became immersed in the real-life issues of civil and environmental engineering and, despite the long hours, thrived on the challenge. She continued to enjoy being part of a team and although sometimes colleagues might question her abilities, she did not perceive any genderrelated discrimination in the workplace. Karen had always believed in her abilities and presented herself with confidence. She received a number of promotions within her first five years with the firm and was now poised to take the lead on a...

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