The Field of STEM to Students: Introduction

By Lisa Banti

In further articles we will explore what STEM means to students, discovering how familiar students are with STEM subjects and how inclined they are to work in such areas later in life.



During the spring/summer of 2021, our intern Lisa Banti conducted this survey as part of the REMIX project. The purpose of the survey was to investigate the attitude of high school students, especially female students, toward STEM subjects to determine whether gender plays a part in the choice of pursuing a career in this field. The supervisor for this project was Luca Penasa, from the REMIX staff.

Project REMIX

Regenerative Medicine Innovation Crossing – REMIX (2017-2023) is a research and training project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, under the MSCA-RISE instrument. The project is coordinated by the University of Trento (Italy), more specifically by its Biotech Center for Biomedical Technologies (within the Department of Industrial Engineering), led by prof. Antonella Motta. The project involves a partnership of 5 universities in Europe and Asia – University of Trento, University of Minho (Portugal), Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), Mongolian University of Science and Technology (Mongolia) and Chonbuk National University (South Korea) – that exchange researchers and PhD students who conduct joint research on the use of natural materials in Regenerative Medicine. 


The survey targeted a number of high schools in some of the countries within REMIX: Italy, Portugal and Mongolia. These high schools have connections with the partner universities of REMIX, either because they are under the same management or because they send their students to do internships in these universities.

In addition to these schools, the European School of Brussels was included in the survey as well. That is because it’s the school attended by Lisa Banti, and because of its special features which separate it from the other schools: it’s a school that adopts an International Curriculum and its students come from many different nationalities.

The complete lists of the schools that participated are:

  • Agrupamento de Escolas de Póvoa de Lanhoso – Portugal
  • Agrupamento de Escolas de Santa Maria Maior – Portugal
  • European School – Belgium
  • Istituto De Carneri – Italy
  • Istituto Di Istruzione Lorenzo Guetti – Italy
  • ITT Buonarotti – Italy
  • Liceo Russell – Italy
  • MUST High School – Mongolia

The total number of respondents was 827, all students from the last three years before graduation. 78% of them attended a scientific curriculum, with the rest studying IT, Languages, Management, Vocational Training, Humanities and Technology.


The questionnaire was designed by Lisa Banti and delivered online in May 2021 by the schools to the students using Microsoft Survey. Expecting a large number of respondents, the survey used close-ended questions to ensure homogeneity of data and to facilitate data analysis. In compliance with privacy regulations, no personal data of the respondents was collected with the exception of their gender, which was functional to the data analysis.

The data was analyzed in July 2021.


The findings are grouped in different sectors, with questions on the same topic as the sector.

There are seven sectors in total:

  • Demographic data
  • Identification of STEM
  • Familiarity with STEM
  • Inclination of STEM
  • Work and daily prejudices
  • Future
  • Future jobs

Demographic data

The survey had a total of 827 respondents. 444 were female, 364 were male and 19 identified themselves as non-binary.

The school with the highest number of respondents was the Istituto di Istruzione Lorenzo Guetti (Italy).

Agrupamento de Escolas de Póvoa de Lanhoso6456120
Agrupamento de Escolas de Santa Maria Maior4546192
European School82665153
Istituto De Carneri2724253
Istituto Di Istruzione Lorenzo Guetti123724199
ITT Buonarotti42685115
Liceo Russell4816266
MUST High School131629

The students responding to the survey belonged to 43 different nationalities. The majoring countries were Italy (52,6%), followed by Portugal (25,2%), Mongolia (3,5%) and Belgium (2,5%). The school with the highest number of nationalities was the European School (32), followed by ITT Buonarroti (7) and Istituto Don Lorenzo Guetti (6). MUST High School was the only one with no respondents of other nationalities.