The Impact of COVID-19 on the Academic Plans and Career Intentions of Future STEM Professionals

Academic Article


  • Future science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals are a key part of dealing with disasters like that of the coronavirus disease of 2019, but the pandemic may result in a gap in individuals joining the STEM workforce. In the present work, we offer a picture of our students' identity as scientists and intentions to pursue a science career from before and after the transition to online instruction that occurred as part of the initial phase of the pandemic response. Additionally, we asked our students to describe the ways this transition has affected their academic plans to provide an in-depth look into their intentions. Data collection involved the administration of a questionnaire to first-year general chemistry laboratory students at the beginning and end of the spring 2020 semester (January-May). The data indicate that there was no significant change to our students' identities and intention to pursue a career in science during spring 2020, and our students written responses indicate that they are making short-term academic changes that could affect their graduation date but do not suggest any serious changes to career plans. We conclude that the initial transition to online instruction due to the pandemic had a minimal effect on our students' career intentions, and future work can use this data to better understand the long-term effects of the pandemic on STEM students.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Forakis J; March JL; Erdmann M
  • Start Page

  • 3336
  • End Page

  • 3340
  • Volume

  • 97
  • Issue

  • 9