Breaking In: Women's Accounts of How Choices Shape STEM Careers

Why is it that, while women in the United States have generally made great strides in establishing parity with their male counterparts in educational attainment, they remain substantially underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? Why is it that, in proportion to the PhDs they obtain in STEM, they attain fewer administrative and managerial positions in academia and industry than their numbers warrant and, moreover, are more likely leave the field once started in their careers?By showcasing the stories of eight women scientists who have achieved successful careers in the academy, industry and government, Women Breaking In offers vivid insights into the challenges and barriers that women face in entering STEM while also describing these women's motivations, the choices they made along their paths, and the intellectual satisfactions and excitement of scientific discovery they derive from their work.Offering advice and inspiration, this book is addressed both to women contemplating entering STEM fields, as well to the teachers, researchers and administrators responsible for nurturing them, for growing enrollments in their disciplines, and developing creative and intellectual capital that the nation needs to compete in the global marketplace.It addresses such questions as what issues will aspiring women scientists encounter on their journey, what can they do to forestall potential obstacles, to advocate for change, and fulfill their ambitions; and asks what can be done to encourage more women to specialize in science, mathematics, and engineering. This book will serve both as a student text and as guide for department chairs and deans concerned about climate and retention in STEM fields.