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Last updateMon, 26 Aug 2019 4am

Why Focus on a STEM Career?

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are at the forefront of national educational concerns and HBCUs will play a critical role. The future competiveness of the United States has been related to its future production of talent in STEM fields. For minorities who have ever thought about being a scientist, technologist, engineer, or mathematician, the opportunities in the fields associated with STEM will continue to increase.

Parents and educators who encourage students to dream of being the next great scientist, engineer, technologist, or mathematician will also serve the future of our nation and planet.

Approximately 30 percent of America’s population is considered underrepresented minority (African American, Hispanic, and American Indian). These same segments are also of the fastest growing in a nation that is becoming more and more diverse. Approximately 10 percent of the underrepresented minority segment currently holds degrees in STEM fields mandating greater representation if America is to achieve its lofty goals. This trend is expected to create more opportunity for minorities in the STEM fields than at any time in our history.

The National Science Foundation and other notable sources have reported on the disproportionate share of African-American women and men who go on to earn Ph.D.s in the STEM fields and have noted that HBCUs stand tall in their contribution. When ranking the source of baccalaureate origin of African American Ph.D.s in the fields of science and engineering, HBCUs occupy approximately 70 percent of the top 15 slots in a ranking of the top 50 colleges/universities. This statistic alone speaks to the success of HBCUs and their ongoing success in developing talented African Americans.

STEM Careers Appropriate for Women?

STEM careers should not be considered more appropriate for men than women. Statistics have been reported that, overall, women are less likely to major in STEM than men. However, amongst underrepresented minorities, the participation rates in STEM between men and women are very similar. When looking at some very interesting statistics that ranked the production of doctoral degrees per 1,000 undergraduates currently enrolled in the college, Spelman College, an all-girls HBCU, ranked at the top of all HBCUs producing Ph.D.s in STEM fields.

Preparation & Benefits

It is never too early to prepare for a STEM career. Parents and educators who encourage students to dream of being the next great scientist, engineer, technologist, or mathematician will also serve the future of our nation and planet.

An education in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math creates people who are capable of finding solutions to the problems faced by our world. Locally and globally, people with STEM degrees are helping create treatments and cures for diseases, generating ideas for sources of energy, understanding the impact of global warming, and better understanding space and deep space. Undergraduate and graduate programs in these fields provide highly skilled workers and researchers who can make constructive contributions in their field of employment. Their work improves all of our lives.