Eyeballs in the Fridge: Sources of early interest in science
This paper examines the experiences reported by scientists and graduate students regarding the experiences that first engaged them in science. The interviews analyzed for this paper come from Project Crossover, a mixed‐methods study of the transition from graduate student to PhD scientist in the fields of chemistry and physics. This analysis involved review of 116 interviews collected from graduate students and scientists and focused on the timing, source, and nature of their earliest interest in science. The majority (65%) of participants reported that their interest in science began before middle school. Females were more likely to report that their interest was sparked by school‐related activities, while most males recounted self‐initiated activities. Our findings indicate that current policy efforts (which focus on high school science reform) to increase the numbers of students studying in the science fields, may be misguided.