July 6th, 2012
06:22 AM ET

Ayah Bdeir: inspiring a new generation of innovators

By Poppy Harlow, CNN Correspondent

Editors note: Ayah Bdeir is the founder and inventor of littleBits, a new electronic kind of LEGO that snaps together to create just about anything. Watch Poppy Harlow’s full interview with Ayah on CNN's “The Next List” this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Growing up I was never that into science, math or engineering. I was (and admittedly still am) a total type A personality, did well in school, and did well in my math and science classes. But outside of my advanced chemistry class in high school I never really pushed myself in math or science.

I wish I had.

You see, women are drastically under-represented in math and science in the United States. A recent Commerce Department study found that women hold only 25% of jobs in science, math, technology and engineering (or STEM) but make up 48% of the U.S. workforce.

The number of jobs in STEM is projected to increase by 17% from 2008 to 2018. And college grads in STEM careers make an average of $74,000 a year – 26% more than their non-STEM counterparts. The point is – STEM jobs are good paying jobs, and not enough women have them.


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