Live Chat: The Making (or Breaking) of a Science Major

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Picking a college major—and sticking with it—can be a tricky business. And that’s especially true for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees, according to conventional wisdom. Few U.S. college students have the necessary academic background to transfer into a STEM field, experts say, and many women and minority students who want to pursue STEM degrees are said to be frozen out by a chilly climate. Many business and academic leaders say the low entry and high attrition rates have led to a dearth of tech-savvy workers and a national innovation crisis. But two new studies raise questions about the accuracy of both those assumptions and suggest that the flow into STEM fields is more of a two-way street than a leaky pipeline.

How does attrition among STEM majors compare with rates in other fields? What happens to STEM dropouts? And what can be done to attract and retain students who want to earn a science and engineering degree?

Join us on this page at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 16 January, as we talk about these issues with experts in undergraduate STEM education and the scientific workforce. Be sure to leave your queries for our guests in the comment box below.