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More Feedback on “Who Speaks for Early Career Scientists?”

Dear editor,

This one paragraph from the article "Who Speaks for Early-Career Scientists?" tells it all:

Far from signaling a shortage of trained scientific talent, current conditions suggest that what this country fails to produce is suitable career opportunities for thousands who have extensive scientific and technical training. That many of America’s most gifted young people eschew science in favor of other careers shows neither a lack of ability and intellectual interest nor a failure of our finest schools to teach the subject well. Rather, it reveals the decay of a system that once offered a life so captivating that many of our brightest students dedicated themselves to years of hard intellectual labor to attain it, but that now offers years of hard study followed, in too many cases, by years of disappointment and frustration.

As a father of a high schooler who is thinking of a technical career, this is really the heart of what I’ve been thinking for the last few years.  Recent reports from the scientific community talk of a depressed American economic future due to a lack of superior scientists driving innovation, and so there is a push to educate better and inspiring teachers.  But there is a giant hurdle that my son will have to overcome to achieve a fulfilling career. Personally, I know my son would make a great scientist or engineer but instead of guiding him that way I find myself highlighting my son’s non-technical attributes so that he may have the opportunity to succeed with or without an advanced technical degree.

Thanks for bringing this to light.  I hope this spreads to other technical societies so that a comprehensive solution is considered.

Steven Ernst
Torrance, California

One comment on “More Feedback on “Who Speaks for Early Career Scientists?””

  1. Perhaps if schools would provide better career guidance through serious use of the career there would be stronger commitment to science careers, thus stronger self assurance.

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