Doctoral student keeps students interested in STEM

Posted by Chrystian Tejedor for FIU News

When Remy Dou began teaching high school biology, he reveled in seeing his best and brightest students understand challenging concepts.

Thanks to a mentor, he soon realized that approach was all wrong.

“For teachers, we see the most engaged students and we take their success as a sign of our great teaching skills because you see the results right away and it feels good,” Dou, 33, said. “When you target the least-engaged students, it forces you to bring out out whatever skills you have to get that student motivated and learning something.”

What worked for Dou, a Curriculum and Instruction doctoral student in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, was developing closer relationships with students.

Talking to his students and attending their sporting events, for example, got them to take more interest in class and ultimately to get better grades, Dou said.

It’s that combination of the social and the scientific that Dou has made the focus of his doctoral research because as the global economy has shifted more toward the technical and scientific, he wants more students to find and keep those lucrative jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the demand for jobs in the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields is strong.

The number of jobs in STEM fields are projected to grow by 17 percent or roughly twice as fast as non-STEM occupations through 2018. STEM workers also command salaries that are 26 percent higher than non-STEM jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.

FIU, where more than 11,500 students major in STEM fields, has made significant commitments to improving STEM education. President Mark B. Rosenberg was recently named chairman of a National Academy of Sciences committee to develop benchmarks and tracking tools for STEM education.

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