A report released by ACT Inc. today says that 49 percent of Iowa's 22,377 ACT test-takers in 2013 have an interest in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) major or occupation. That is a 2.2 percent increase since 2009. Nationwide, about 48 percent of students have an interest in STEM. In Iowa, female interest in STEM is slightly lower than male at 46.2 percent, though the gain in female interest since 2009 outpaces the male gain 2.8 percent to 1.5 percent. Officials in Iowa have identified improved STEM education and interest as a critical need in the state's future. To see the Iowa STEM report, click here. To see the national STEM report, click here.