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Eye On Boise

Research will seek answers on why students don’t choose tech disciplines

With fewer U.S. students going into key technical areas - a decline that's raised major concerns about the nation's future competitiveness - the University of Idaho today announced a new grant to study just why Idaho students aren't choosing to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.     "This is not just unique to Idaho, although I think it's more acute in Idaho," said UI President Duane Nellis. "It is a real concern, and it's very revealing and fairly graphic, the decline of students tracking in this area."

The Micron Foundation gave the UI a $1.2 million, four-year grant to research the issue. The project will include focus groups, surveys, interviews with students, teachers, parents and school administrators, a statewide dialogue and more aimed at identifying why students don't choose the STEM disciplines or don't succeed in them.     "We will be able to identify those exact factors that influence a student's ability to excel at STEM education," said Dee Mooney, Micron Foundation executive director. "We look forward to learning all about the results." UI officials said the research should help guide STEM programs not only in Idaho but across the nation; you can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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