The Nov. 4, 2011 New York Times article on STEM (science - technology - engineering - math) career paths shows clearly and succinctly that NO ONE is engaging in true investigative journalism anymore. The article by Christopher Drew, Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard) shows an appalling lack of insight into the issues facing flocks of interested and engaged science majors. Did this author spend five minutes in a laboratory talking to scientists working in the trenches? No.
Yes, science and engineering are HARD. OF COURSE ITS HARD...Science is fascinating in the abstract - but “doing science” is never easy. If it were easy we would have cures for cancer, heart disease, obesity and all infectious disease coming out of our ears. We’d have a shuttle to Mars where people would take vacations and someone would be working on a Warp engine to go faster than the speed of light by now. I know its hard because I have a Ph.D. from a highly regarded medical school and was a molecular biologist by trade for over 15 years.
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Thomas Friedman has been offering career advice for far too long. This week he was at it again with “The Start-Up of You” in The New York Times. Thankfully, our youth do not seem to have been listening….and woe be to those that actually would because they would find themselves choosing between corrugated cardboard and a plastic bag for their digs.
For years Friedman was crowing about S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career paths. He loudly bemoaned the loss of American students in these fields while he beat the drums for loosening H1-B visa rules for foreign nationals so they could further crowd out the few American Nationals that had clung to their jobs. Friedman never connected the dots between the flood of foreign scientists and the massive glut of Ph.D.’s in America. He never paid attention the gutting of salaries - the natural result of a glut because he didn’t dig a little deeper for the facts. I doubt the man ever stepped foot inside an actual lab.