I’m honored to be a speaker at the U.S. News STEM Solution Conference in Baltimore this month, and in advance of the conference I had the opportunity to speak to U.S. News & World Report about why diversity in STEM matters, why it should matter to others, and what can and should be done about it.
Taking a few minutes to read (and/or share) the story will reinforce that this is an important subject for others as well. Here is a brief excerpt:
You’ve made diversifying STEM such a large part of your life’s work. Why?
It always concerned me, as I was going through my classes and early in my career, how very few people like me there were – African-Americans, and people of color in general, and also women. You start to wonder, is there something systemic going on? It doesn’t seem random.
Others who have experienced similar situations – as the only people of color in their classes, or the only women – have said they felt inferior or a sense they didn’t belong. What effect did it have on you?
I never felt inferior, I’m a pretty confident person. I just felt, “Why aren’t there other people?” Is it racism? Is it lack of resources? Is it a combination of the above? Preparation? I started becoming interested in finding ways to combat these issues.