Today someone from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia suggested I write about how about half of young people questioned in a poll about career plans said they weren't considering careers in health and sciences. It's almost been an article of faith that we aren't educating enough mathematicians and scientists. There's also a competing point of view that we don't really have a shortage of scientists. Instead there's a shortage of science jobs.
To that end, I'd like to recommend an article in Miller-McCune, a magazine that uses academic research as a foundation for journalism. It opines that the real science gap is not a lack of education, but a lack of opportunity. Almost as interesting as the article are the comments. Philadelphia prides itself on its science-friendly atmosphere -- particularly science expressed through medicine in the pharmaceutical industry or in medical devices and the University brags that 90 percent of its graduates go on to immediate employment or higher education. A key question raised in the Miller-McCune comments is whether there is a two-way street between science in academics and science in industry.
One more thought to add to this: NACE, the Bethlehem-based organization that researches the connections between colleges and employers, reported Thursday that engineering salary offers to 2010 grads fell slightly compared to last year. Interesting and disturbing trend, since engineering is a science degree harnessed to industry.