How Diversity in STEM Education is Necessary for Societal and Economic Recovery

May 17, 2021

by ASME.org

The STEM Education Coalition recently held a briefing on “Prioritizing ‘Overlooked’ Populations in STEM: An Essential Element to Societal and Economic Recovery.” The discussion focused on how creating a STEM-literate society is vital to recovering from the pandemic, especially as underserved and overlooked populations continue to be left behind. Speakers discussed how rural communities, urban areas, incarcerated people, and low-income, low-resource communities—primarily black and brown communities—have unique challenges that need to be addressed for the nation to excel in STEM.
 
Each speaker made the case for why STEM education and workforce preparedness is imperative for full societal recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. During the pandemic, many overlooked and underserved populations have fallen even further behind due to scarce resources that have led to a lag in these communities being able to successfully adapt to the new ways of educating. In not educating a diverse talent base to its full potential, a talent void has been created in the U.S. In the wake of the pandemic, this will continue to exacerbate unless there is a focused undertaking to increase STEM education efforts specifically for underserved populations.
 
Each of the five speakers provided his/her insight into what is needed and how best to accomplish it to get the U.S. on track to grow a diverse, STEM-literate workforce. Speakers included:
  • Pam Buffington, Director of Rural STEM Initiatives, EDC
  • Shelley Gretlein, Vice President of Portfolio Business Software Strategy, National Instruments
  • Dr. Roberta Rincon, Associate Director of Research, Society of Women Engineers
  • Dr. Calvin Mackie, President and Founder, STEM NOLA
  • Dr. Eden Badertscher, Principal Research Scientist & NSF INCLUDES STEM-OPS PI, EDC 
To view the full webinar, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fd03XFMkCFI.

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