Questions for ‘Hurdling poverty to find a life in science’


Lots of young, creative students find their career goals slowed or thwarted by financial problems. But programs and opportunities exist to help even the most cash-strapped student get the training she or he might need to find a career in STEM.


To accompany feature “Hurdling poverty to find a life in science


Before Reading

1.  What are three reasons that could stand in the way of a good student being able to attend college?

2.  If you were to become a scientist or engineer, which field would you prefer to work in? Explain your answer.

During Reading

1.  What are two symptoms of schistosomiasis, and what causes this disease?

2.  STEM is an acronym. What is an acronym and what does this one mean?

3.  What share of U.S. students grows up poor (based on statistics in the article)?

4.  What is a mentor, and who was Abel Chávez’s?

5.  Esteban Burchard says “Wrestling saved my life.” What does he mean by that?

6.  Laura Martinez mentions having a series of home-life issues that presented obstacles to her studying. Name two of hers.

7.  What is grit and in what evidence does the article provide to show that Tracie Delgado has it?

8.  Miquella “Kelly” Chavez acknowledges that she didn’t have a straight path from childhood to a career in science. What problems did she have to overcome to get where she is today?

9.  When Diogenes Placencia didn’t get a scholarship to cover the full cost of his college education (and room and food costs), what did he do that allowed him to stay in college?

10.  Why does Kelly Chavez argue that looking for financial assistance from colleges and other groups is not “asking for a handout?” Do you agree with her? Explain your reasoning.

After Reading

1.  What interests you more than anything else in the world? (Hint: It can even be any hobby, sport or some other outside interest.) Explain why it’s your favorite.

2.  What is a STEM career related to that field? How would you prepare to work in that field? What would you have to study? Where would you go to study that? How many years would it likely take to be able to work in that field?


1.  The article says that more than 13 million U.S. children and teens grow up poor. Based on statistics given in the story, calculate roughly how many children and teens must be living in the United States. Show your work.

2.   According to the College Board, the average cost for a year of college in the United States at a four-year, public institution is $9,139 (for in-state students). Yet financial aid allows many students to attend for a cost of only $3,030 per year. How much of a savings would that amount to, in dollars, over four years? On a percent basis, how big a savings is that? Show your work.