The need to understand better the actors and factors that influence students' perceptions of pursuing an academic and professional future in STEM areas has been studied for over 30 years. In this work, we focus on students who are strongly oriented to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to investigate what motivates them and who has been cultivating their inclinations to these careers. High school students who attended an international science contest on mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and computing (over 600 attendees) were invited to participate in a focus group. Thirteen students attended the call. The session lasted over 90 minutes and was video recorded. All the session was transcribed, and a group of researchers analyzed the data based on an adaptation of the expectancy-value theory. The results indicated that the students did not feel they had the expected support from their schools; instead, their primary support came from their family (particularly their parents). It was interesting to find that among this group of students, their conceptualization of STEM and interest in how science and technology could improve the world (or their world) proved to be a significant factor in keeping them motivated to pursue their goals.