Educational Influences

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Educational Influences
in Professional Science Careers

Capstone Proposal
Educational influences play a major developmental role in the course of professional scientific careers.

A research paper presented to the faculty of the graduate school the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree master of science in education.

Amanda M. Baron
Dr. Lloyd Davis
December 2011
Chapter One
Introduction:
Science is present in almost every aspect of today’s world. It is part of our daily lives, from cooking and gardening, to recycling and comprehending the daily weather report, to reading a map and using a computer. Civilization and all of life itself is defined by advancements. Advancements don't happen without scientists. These advances in technology and science are transforming our world at an incredible pace, and our children’s future will surely be filled with leaps in technology we can only begin imagine. Being “science literate” will no longer be just an advantage but an absolute necessity. We can’t escape from the significance of science in our world (Atkinson, N. 2009). Science is an ever growing and ever changing subject and Scientists are needed in many different fields. According to Good Education website, children make firm decisions about what they want to be when they grow up in grades 8-12. This is the age when students start developing realistic goals for their future based on their interests and environment (Bunting, D. 2010). Science educators use many different techniques to try and engage and excite their students about science in all its aspects. The real question is since scientists are needed especially in a modern growing society, what is it that makes someone want to be a scientist? Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to find out what educational factors or influences lead current scientists, that have worked at least a year in their field of study, to pursue their career. Significance:

In the educational realm programs like STEM are putting the focus back on science. Educators and administrators need to know what triggers a student’s passion for science. In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself. If teachers can get students excited about science we can use that excitement to train great scientists today for a growing tomorrow. Limitations and Assumptions:

It will be assumed that all willing participants will answer the survey and interview questions honestly and to the best of their ability. The participants may experience some time involved inconvenience cause by the time constraints needed to fill out the written survey and participate in the face to face interview. Every precaution will be taken to ensure participants have ample time to complete the survey and that the interviews are conducted efficiently and scheduled to fit the participants needs. There are no physical or psychological risks associated with this study. The study will be limited by the time schedule (given in the appendix), the small number of scientists questioned and the convenience sampling of participants at only one laboratory facility. The study participants are a small fraction of a very broad range of scientists, but their views should be somewhat consistent with those of the target population.

Definitions:
Scientist- broadly put is someone who uses the scientific method in their study Field of study- branch of specific knowledge or subject area STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-The STEM fields are those academic and professional subjects that are represented by the acronym. They are collectively considered core technological basis of an advanced society. Hypothesis:

It is hypothesized that current scientist, that are working in their field of study for at least a year, have been directly influenced by...
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