TV makes STEM look appealing

KIMT News 3 – Some popular TV shows featuring science and technology, may help students follow in the career path.

One popular show in particular, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” is being credited for influencing young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math, better known as STEM.

A recent survey of young people ages 14-18, suggests that programs like, “The Big Bang Theory”, “The Gadget Show” and “Professor Brian Cox”, helps make STEM careers more appealing.

Nicole Hehr is a fan of the show “The Big Bang Theory”, and a student who is now interested in science and technology courses.

“I like how they incorporate comedy with something that’s normally considered either, really geeky or really serious. It puts a whole new spin on it,” said Hehr. “I think it’s definitely changing the way they look at it. Science used to be geeky, but now more people watch shows about it. I think it interests them,” said Hehr.

“I love “The Big Bang Theory”,” said Anderson.

Robin Anderson is on the advisory board of the north Iowa STEM group and says she’s not surprised to see these programs have such an effect on teens.

“How wonderful it is, even if some of it is far-fetched. If we get kids taking more math, more science, more IT classes, we’re going to be better across-the-board,” said Anderson.

However, it’s not only teens she says that will benefit.

There are now several female role models on these shows, including one who happens to hold a PHD of her very own.

For Robin, it’s a chance for these young women to see what they can achieve, in more male-dominated fields.

“I think it’s especially important for women to be role models, and for women who have studied STEM, to put that out there for girls who might think that STEM things are more for boys,” said Anderson.

Nearly one out of three girls in this study say, they are intimidated by the STEM industry’s perception of being male-dominated, but Nicole says, this shouldn’t hold them back.

“Like in “CSI”, “The Mentalist”, they’re all important parts. I think it’s important for people my age too, because then we see people up there and say ‘hey, I could do that’, or ‘I’m not the only one who wants to do something like that’,” said Hehr.

According to the study, there were several misconceptions of teens feeling that their IQ’s were not high enough to pursue the careers.

More than one in five students felt they did not have what it takes.

STEM advisers say it’s a simple misconception, they hope to combat.

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