Interview Protocol and Questions

Below are a list of the questions asked to our students. Whenever an interviewer went off script, care was taken to use gender-neutral pronouns so as not to offer any outside implication of who “does” a particular career.

Questions Posed to Students

  1. At school, do you like (math/language arts (reading/writing)/science)? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?
  2. Which one do you like the best?
  3. Can you draw me a quick sketch of a scientist?  Describe your picture.  Why did you draw it that way?
  4. How would you change your picture to show a mathematician, engineer, computer programmer (video game maker), kindergarten teacher?
  5. What do you want to be when you graduate from school?  (or grow up)  Why?
  6. Could you be a scientist or a mathematician or a computer programmer?  Why or why not?
  7. How does a person become a mathematician? Or a scientist? Or a computer programmer?

Sample Population

Students were chosen from a variety of different age ranges, from students entering first grade to their senior year of high school.


From elementary school, we had 3 boys and 3 girls as our interviewees. Middle schoolers comprised 2 boys and 2 girls, with high school students being 1 boy and 1 girl. We also thought it would be interesting to see what women who are in STEM fields had to say about why many girls shy away from pursuing these types of careers and why they did or did not choose a career in a STEM field. The woman we interviewed who did not pursue a career in STEM was a primary teacher, the three women who chose a STEM field were a chiropractor, an architect and a mechanical engineer.