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Rural Schools and STEM Careers

Fewer rural college students major in science, technology, engineering and math than their suburban and urban peers, according to a new analysis of federal data, with only 13 percent of rural and small-town students majoring in math and science in college, compared with almost 17% of students in the suburbs. The researchers found rural students start to drift away from STEM classes in high school. Researchers cite three explanations for rural students’ declining interest in STEM fields: lack of advanced math and science classes; math and science teachers who weren’t as qualified or confident; and fewer opportunities for extracurricular math and science through activities such as science fairs, robotics competitions, or math clubs.

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