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Spring 2003 Vol. 47, Number 1

Grab bag

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Careers in sociology

If the idea of studying all things social—social change, social causes, and social action and interaction—fascinates you, consider sociology as a career field.

Sociologists analyze social contexts and how people interact within them. Research matter ranges from the harmonious family to the hostile mob, from religious cults to organized crime, from that which unites communities to that which divides them. Studying sociology also provides students with broad liberal-arts training, which is good preparation for many careers.

For more information about sociology careers, contact the American Sociological Association, 1307 New York Ave. NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 383-9005, TDD (202) 872-0486. Through its Web site, the association also offers prospective students brochures about careers in sociology. The brochures are available online via

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Preparing young women for computer science careers

Several well-paying computer occupations are among the fastest growing occupations in the economy through 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Yet women continue to be underrepresented in the computer science field. What can educators do to narrow that gender gap? Prepare them better, writes Cynthia Lanius in "GirlTECH: Getting Girls Interested in Computer Science."

Simply liking computers, which Lanius says girls often respond that they do, is not enough to prepare them for computer science careers. High school girls are less likely than boys to take high-level mathematics, science, and computer science courses—all necessary training for studying computer science in college. But ask any college student who has changed majors: interest in a subject doesn’t go very far if you’re struggling to make up for lost preparation.

To see Lanius’s article online, visit It is also available through the online digest of the Women’s Educational Equity Act Resource Center, which provides information and resources on gender equity in education. Contact the Center at 55 Chapel St., Newton, MA 02458; 1 (800) 225-3088;


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Scholarships available for study abroad

Foreign countries have long been popular study destinations for U.S. undergraduates. But many would-be globetrotters are dissuaded from studying abroad because of its high price tag, which usually includes travel and living expenses, tuition, fees, and administrative costs. To make international study more affordable, the Institute of International Education provides students with financial assistance.

The Institute directs the well-known Fulbright program for graduate students and professionals interested in international study. But it also administers dozens of other programs for undergraduates interested in studying overseas. Among them are the following, all of which require applicants to be U.S. citizens:

  • The National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarship is a need-based award of up to $20,000 per academic year. The nearly 200 current students in the program, which helps undergraduates gain experience in countries that are crucial to our national security, selected host countries that include Cuba, India, Jordan, Kenya, and Russia. Awards are for the semester, summer, or full academic year, and each carries a poststudy service requirement. Applications are due in February, although campus deadlines may be earlier. For more information, contact the National Security Education Program, David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships, Institute of International Education, 1400 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20005-2403; 1 (800) 618-NSEP (6737);
  • The Freeman Awards for Study In Asia (Freeman-ASIA) Program aims to increase the number of Americans studying in East and Southeast Asia with fixed-amount awards of $7,000 per academic year, $5,000 per semester, or $3,000 per summer term. Recipients study in 1 of 15 countries, which include Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Awardees must complete a poststudy service requirement to promote study abroad and submit a final report on their experiences. Application deadlines are in March (for the summer term), April (fall semester and full academic year), and November (spring semester). For more information, contact the Freeman Awards for Study In Asia, 809 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017-3580; (212) 984-5542;
  • The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program seeks to increase the number of U.S. undergraduates studying abroad—especially those whom financial need might preclude from doing so. The need-based, $5,000 maximum award per semester or academic year is available only to current Pell Grant recipients and requires that returning scholarship beneficiaries create a followup project to promote international study. Host countries chosen by the 179 recipients for the 2002 fall semester and 2002-03 academic year include Brazil, the Czech Republic, Ghana, Norway, and Singapore. Application deadlines are in April (for the fall semester and full academic year) and October (spring semester). For more information, contact the Gilman International Scholarship Program, Institute of International Education, 515 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 150, Houston, TX 77027-9407; 1 (888) 887-5939, ext. 25 (tollfree) or (713) 621-6300, ext. 25;

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Employee tenure: The long and short of it

How long have wage-and-salary workers been with their current employers, a measurement known as employee tenure? The answer in January 2002 was a median 3.7 years, according to BLS. Results are from a supplement to the Current Population Survey, a monthly household survey of the civilian noninstitutional population aged 16 and older.

Variation in tenure resulted from several factors. For example, workers aged 55 to 64 had median tenure that was 3½ times that of workers aged 25 to 34. Those age differences also influenced employee tenure in industries and occupations: workers in the public sector, who are relatively older, had twice the median tenure years of those in the private sector. And officials and administrators in public administration had the highest median tenure—11 years—in contrast to food service workers, who had the lowest at 1 year. Officials and administrators in public administration tend to be older than food service workers.

For more details about the tenure data, call (202) 691-6378 or visit the Current Population Survey program online at The employee tenure summary, USDL 02-531, is also available online at

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated:
October 6, 2003