Given the historic and continued underrepresentation of women in physics, it is important to understand the role that high school physics might play in attracting female students to physics careers. Drawing on data from over 900 female undergraduates in physics, we examine when these women became interested in physics careers and different sources of recognition (important for physics identity development) that may have affected their choices at certain time points. The results provide optimism since many of these female students, even those not previously intending science careers, began to intend physics careers in high school and recognition from high school physics teachers had a significant effect on predicting these intentions.

AAPT members receive access to The Physics Teacher and the American Journal of Physics as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.