Intelligently Preparing High School Students for a Career in Science

Group of student socializing after class

(DGIwire) — Today more than ever, a college education is necessary to land a decent-paying job. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of institutions of higher learning is at an all-time high: more than 3,000 four-year colleges in the United States alone. This figure doesn’t even encompass the myriad of community colleges and online degree-granting institutions, let alone the thousands of colleges and universities abroad to which American students can apply.

In a discouraging trend, however, American students across the board seem to be shying away from majoring in science and technology, the very fields for which the country so desperately needs specialists. A recent article in Bloomberg Business tells us that the percentage of science and engineering graduates in the U.S. has been far below China and Japan.

In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama addressed the issue, claiming that growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as there are workers who can do the job. Think about that, Obama urged us: openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work. But while computer science enrollments are increasing, the number of science majors still remains disappointingly low.

Why do American students shy away from the sciences when there is such a demand for it? According to Bloomberg, apparently students’ expectations at the beginning of the semester on how well their grades would be were at odds with the actual grades they received. These unexpectedly low grades appeared to discourage them from continuing in science and causing them to switch majors.

So what can be done to improve American students’ morale and better prepare them for the rigorous science courses they will need to become doctors, scientists, computer programmers and other similarly in-demand careers? Perhaps the answer comes to us from India. According to a recent article in The Times of India, the government is planning to set up mobile science laboratories for high school students across the nation. The project has been conceptualized by the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a government initiative designed to help students develop an interest in science and mathematics. This will also allow teachers and laboratory instructors to tailor the curriculum to the specific needs of the students, increasing the complexity of experiments as they get older.

“These mobile laboratories are a perfect way to provide high school students with access to cutting-edge technology,” says Jeffrey A. Duchemin, president and CEO of Holliston, MA-based Harvard Bioscience. “Having hands-on experience with the tools and equipment used in college and research labs around the world will prepare these students not only for their rigorous college courses, but will also hopefully inspire them to pursue a career in the sciences.”

Duchemin should know: his company is one of the worldwide leaders in solutions to advance life science research. Harvard Bioscience offers the highest-quality tools and equipment for university, government and other research laboratories. Its product range is extensive, from molecular analysis instruments to electrophysiology tools.

Perhaps India’s initiative will inspire the U.S. to encourage more science and technology programs and, in so doing, pave the way for a new generation of science-minded students. For those who go into the life sciences, Harvard Bioscience will be there to fulfill their equipment needs.