Not wanted: Science jobs

    The health-care sector is expected to grow in coming years, but many teens say they aren’t interested.

    University of the Sciences provost Russell DiGate, a molecular biologist, said the race to put an astronaut on the moon captured his imagination. As a boy, he was hooked on science when a high school teacher visited his elementary classroom to demonstrate fundamental concepts.

    “You have to hit kids while they are younger and keep with it. That’s my experience, and I’m kind of wondering why that got lost,” DiGate said.

    Harris Interactive conducted the poll of students in ninth through 12th grade. About half said they are definitely–or probably not–considering a career in science or health care.

    DiGate said he was surprised that interest dwindled by about 9 percent this year.

    “Science has always been something that people thought of as hard, and some people perceive themselves as just not getting it,” he said.

    The Philadelphia region offers thousands of well-paying pharmaceutical and health-related jobs. Unlike many other industries, the sector is expected to grow.

    When you ask teens to list health-science careers, Dale Keshishian of HealthWorks Academies says the list peters out quickly.

    “I’ve never had anyone more than mention doctors, nurse, dentist, EMT. There’s a disconnect between what students in high school are aware of and the need in the industry,” she said.

    The HealthWorks Academies, a non-profit group that provides science curricula to schools around the country, give teens on the job-experience and mentors in a wide range of science jobs.

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