Clare Fraser

Claire M. Fraser, PhD, director and founder of the School of Medicine’s Institute for Genome Sciences, warns that the decline is a national problem that must be addressed.

While the United States has been a leader in many advances in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), the state of education in this area and access in the U.S. is on the decline, warned Claire M. Fraser, PhD, director and founder of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) Institute for Genome Sciences, a pioneer in the field of microbial genomics, and the outgoing president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Fraser’s sobering remarks about the state of U.S. STEM education and the future of a strong U.S. workforce in these fields were made to a University System of Maryland Board of Regents meeting Feb. 11 at the SMC Campus Center on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. She warned that the decline in STEM education is an urgent national problem that must be addressed with early interventions among schoolchildren and by encouraging and promoting access to underserved populations.

“We now have to come to grips with the fact that the world is changing and changing rapidly,” said Fraser, who also is the Dean’s Endowed Professor in the Department of Medicine at UMSOM.

Fraser warned that U.S. STEM education has already fallen behind other industrialized countries, which ultimately will greatly impact the health of the workforce and the greater population. She cited the pandemic as a key example of the importance of supporting education and training in critical science and health care fields.

“I think we have seen [the importance of STEM education] much more recently in developing vaccine platforms that allowed us to develop, approve, and deploy COVID vaccines in less than two years’ time,” she said.


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