Sunday, August 29, 2010

African Americans Discouraged From Pursuing STEM Careers

Some people continue to question the relevance of groups like BDPA. The harsh reality is that we will never get enough African Americans in high-paying and fulfilling information technology careers unless BDPA is proactive in delivering on its mandate.

Did any of you read the Bayer Corporation survey that said significant numbers of today’s women and underrepresented minority chemists and chemical engineers (40 percent) say they were discouraged from pursuing a STEM career (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) at some point in their lives.

If the future faces of technology are being discouraged by others ... it is important that BDPA do some powerful encouraging with our programs and services.

"We want to knock down barriers. If we can do that, we’ll be able to develop the attitudes, behaviors, opportunities and resources that lead to success."

U.S. colleges are cited by them as the leading place in the American education system where discouragement happens (60 percent) and college professors as the individuals most likely responsible for the discouragement (44 percent).

The U.S. K-12 education system falls short, too. On average, the survey respondents give it a “D” for the job it does to encourage minorities to study STEM subjects and a “D+” for girls.

The Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey polled 1,226 female, African American, Hispanic and American Indian chemists and chemical engineers about their childhood, academic and workplace experiences that play a role in attracting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

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