The United States, like many countries, depends heavily on science and technology to maintain a robust economy and defend its democracy. However, many scientists are nearing retirement, many are returning to or remaining in their home countries (especially since 9/11), and the number in the pipeline preparing to become scientists is increasingly inadequate to sustain the necessary technological growth. All too frequently, students choose early on not to pursue a career in science, or they drop out along the way. This qualitative study primarily investigates how high school science-related experiences (e.g., personal relationships with teachers, pedagogical practices, access to technology and other support structures, and activities and internships) influenced some practicing scientists to persist in their pursuit of a career in science. It also sheds light on those practices and experiences that impeded that pursuit. This is accomplished by interviewing and surveying 32 practicing scientists about their science related experiences growing up, especially as they related to their formal high school education.