"What Every Science Student Should Know" hits shelves May 6
During their upperclassman years at Dartmouth College, four science students were alarmed to learn that a significant number of college students planning to study science or medicine leave the field during their undergraduate years. In fact, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, about half of bachelor degree candidates in science, technology, engineering and math leave the field before completing a college degree.
Four years later, those same four students, Andrew Zureick, Justin Bauer, Yoo Jung Kim and Daniel Lee, have tried to combat this trend by publishing a book for science students. While the causes are strongly debated and there are many factors contributing to the problem, Zureick and his classmates address the issue from the perspective of medical students determined to graduate in their majors.
Now seasoned in medical school, the students want to share how they made it through school with their enthusiasm and dedication to the science and medical field intact. The book, What Every Science Student Should Know, serves as a guide, covering the entire medical school experience, including choosing a major, mastering study skills, doing scientific research, finding a job and, most important, keeping a love of science.
Zureick, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan and a member of the Michigan State Medical Society, was able to explore this idea while collaborating with other MSMS members. After speaking with colleagues and mentors on the attrition rate in STEM higher education, he decided to draft a resolution targeting the issue.
"The four of us were really passionate about the sciences and wanted to create a guide to help students succeed," Zureick said. "Branching off that, I was interested in revolutionizing education at the university level, and joining MSMS seemed like a concrete way to make a difference."
Through his membership with MSMS, Zureick has worked on proposals and advocacy opportunities to effect real change in the medical world. He drafted a resolution to get the American Medical Association to take a deeper look at science education. With input from fellow members and classmates, he explored every aspect of a STEM student's process, from declaring a major to entering the workforce.
"The connections and friendships I've made from networking with other members has been rewarding," Zureick said. "To have other physicians advocate on your behalf is invaluable." The encouragement he received from MSMS, along with the ideas and writing contributions from his classmates, allowed the book to come together piece by piece.
With the four authors scattered throughout the world to finish schooling -- at one point spanning New Hampshire to Beijing -- they used Google Hangouts for four-way video conferences to communicate and share ideas, and completed the entire book manuscript collaboratively on Google Drive. They interviewed successful scientists and other science students around the world to get a variety of perspectives. Zureick, Bauer, Kim and Lee have all weathered the ups and downs of undergrad life, and are still pursuing STEM careers.
By forming professional relationships through his time as an MSMS member, Zureick could collaborate on ideas and find support for the book's vision. Those in the medical field recognize that they have a role to play in encouraging young students to stick with their interest in science and technology. By working together and reflecting on what did and didn't work for them, individuals in the STEM field can help those coming through the ranks.
Zureick, Bauer, Kim and Lee hope their book can continue the conversation, providing suggestions and answers for students hoping to make a living in the medical field.
Bauer is now a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, San Diego; Kim is now a first-year medical student at Stanford University; and Lee is now a second-year medical student at Harvard University.
"What Every Science Student Should Know" will debut May 2016, and is available for purchase on Amazon.com as well as directly from the University of Chicago Press publisher's website.