There is a STEM retention issue happening in education which will continue to have a major impact on the labor market and the future economy.

There are many reasons why STEM students drop out, lose interest or change majors prior to graduating in science, technology, engineering or math. Only about 4% of 9th grade students that demonstrate some interest in STEM will actually go on to receive a bachelor’s degree in a STEM major.

Women are underrepresented in STEM. While some claim that men are simply more interested in technology, a recent study of 1464 female engineers who had prematurely left the field debunks that claim. Most women attributed their leaving to three key factors. “They were working in unfair conditions, were being unequally compensated compared to their male counterparts, and were receiving little support to accommodate work-family balance. They also revealed that they were not receiving deserved recognition or opportunities for advancement”. (

Lack of support in STEM. Another study found that the largest reason as to why students leave STEM is a lack of support. The study found that “ 75% of STEM switchers mentioned inadequate advice, counseling or lack of tutorial help as a factor for their switching decision” (Seymour & Hewitt ,1997). A more recent study indicated that “Going beyond in-class instruction, tutors can answer questions and correct student mistakes in understanding, and they can otherwise provide further in-depth explanation to increase student comprehension (Dioso-Henson, 2012). This lack of support is a larger issue in low income or traditionally marginalized communities.

Many more studies found that tutoring was beneficial to students even when they didn’t request it, “because students underestimate how much academic help will benefit their performance (Hodges and White, 2001). Further research has proven that peer to peer tutoring is more effective than teacher to student tutoring.

Papaya Tutor is here to fix the leaky STEM pipeline. We help students during the entire student life cycle from elementary to college. Ensuring they are supported in STEM every step of the way.

It is the mission of Papaya Tutor to transform students’ lives with world class STEM tutoring.

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