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Blogger: STEM Ed Is Exclusive

The Huffington Post's Christopher Emdin this week outlines "five major reasons for why youth ... are not likely to have careers in the STEM disciplines." First, Emdin says he has found that most STEM majors have at least one scientist in their family. "They become interested in STEM because they see examples of STEM-minded careers in their own lives," he says. "However, in too many homes, the phrase 'I'm not good at math and science' or 'science is hard' have become part of everyday conversation," he adds. Emdin says STEM curricula is also partly to blame. He says that "in too many cases, science teachers see science as an exclusive club only for the 'best and brightest' students," such that "the subject is taught to purposefully 'weed out' students who may actually have the skills to do well in the discipline." It does not help, Emdin says, that science lacks the "'cool factor,' and kids have no 'science heroes.'" He goes on to say that, in general, "kids have no idea what is going on in the world of science." Finally, Emdin says it's a common misconception that good grades in science make good scientists. Rather, he says, "being a scientist, and having success in STEM requires passion, resilience, curiosity, analytical skills, creativity, collaboration, and very often those can be fostered at home as well as in school, but are rarely reflected by merely a good grade in a science class."

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.