Since their dawn during the Age of Enlightenment (1685–1815), the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—or STEM—fields, have been predominately male. Studies compiled by the National Girls Collaborative Project indicate that in this country, K–12 girls and boys do not significantly differ in their abilities in math and science but do differ in their interest and confidence in STEM subjects. By early college, the number of science and engineering courses taken by women decline and gender disparities begin to emerge. How can society better understand the societal, psychological, and cultural factors contributing to this shift? What strategies can educators engage in to ensure an academic environment that encourages young women to consider STEM careers?

Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Physics Senior Lecturer and Associate Chair Sally Laurent-Muehleisen, Professor of Sociology Ullica Segerstrale, and Adjunct Faculty Member Vida Winans.