Response to STEM initiatives article

Brittney Johnson, University of Minnesota student

We often talk about getting more students interested in STEM fields and STEM careers, but we often ignore the responsibilities of the companies requesting these students.

Recently, I attended an internship hosted by SciTech where representatives from Minnesotan companies were asked what a student should do if they disagree with the policies of a company. Their response? “Have an open mind. Your way isn’t necessarily the best way.” While that is very valuable advice, it does nothing to appeal to what David Burstein has called Millennials’ “pragmatic idealism.”

STEM students like myself are very interested in making a difference in our fields, but having long-term careers with companies who have policies with which we fundamentally disagree is not appealing. From Monsanto to Target, these companies are hurting their chances of recruiting talented STEM graduates.

For each person rejecting companies on moral grounds, there are three more ready to take their place. But when the need for qualified employees is high and you have highly qualified graduates rejecting offers, it’s time for companies to reevaluate their priorities and realize how STEM graduates perceive of their companies.