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My Humble Recommendation on How to Address the Low Representation of Black Males in S.T.E.A.M.

The representation of black males in S.T.EA.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) has historically been disproportionately low when compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Contributing factors to the underrepresentation of black male professionals and students in S.T.EA.M. is a culmination of systemic racism, limited access to resources, and reduced exposure to S.T.E.A.M. in K-12 schools located in communities comprised primarily of BIPOCs.

In response to the disparagingly unequal representation, numerous efforts by S.T.E.A.M. field leaders, education equality advocacy groups, and governmental promotion inclusive of investments in S.T.E.A.M. careers and education programs has collectively helped increase the representation of black males in S.T.E.A.M.

In addition, increased advocacy across all levels of influence there has also promoted an insurgence of programs geared towards creating an inclusive S.T.E.A.M. workforce. For example, there have been programs like Black Boys Code, The Hidden Genius Project, and Black Girls Code, all of which aim to provide opportunities to black youth to learn coding, robotics, and other S.T.E.A.M. skills that are applicable to growing S.T.E.A.M. career fields. Moreover, mentorship programs geared towards black males in S.T.E.A.M. have begun to develop as well. For example, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Black Male College Explorers Program both offer mentorship and professional development resources as well as networking opportunities to ensure the success and career mobility of black males in S.T.E.A.M. careers.

Nevertheless, despite all of these efforts to balance the involvement of BIPOCs and non POCs in S.T.E.A.M., an analysis of the federal employment data STEM’s racial, ethnic and gender gaps are still strikingly large ( and STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity | Pew Research Center suggests that there is still a significant gap in racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in S.T.E.A.M. fields particularly in computer sciences and engineering.

Therefore, it is crucial to continue to advocate for and invest in programs and initiatives that aim to increase the representation of black males in S.T.E.A.M. educational programs and careers. By doing so, we can help to ensure that black males have the resources and support needed to succeed and contribute to innovation and progress in S.T.E.A.M.

How Do We Address the Low Representation of Black Males in S.T.E.A.M.?

In my view, there are several steps to unraveling the macro and micro systemic suppression of black males in S.T.EA.M. For example:

Increase access to resources: One of the main barriers to black male representation in S.T.E.A.M. is a lack of access to resources, such as computers, textbooks, and other educational materials. Providing more resources to schools and communities with a high proportion of black male students can help to level the playing field and give these students more opportunities to learn about S.T.E.A.M. subjects.

Increase exposure to S.T.E.A.M. fields: By and large black male students have not had the opportunity to learn about S.T.E.A.M. fields on the K-12 school levels or are substantially unaware of the vast number of collegiate programs and career fields available to pursue in S.T.E.A.M. By increasing exposure to S.T.E.A.M. through events, workshops, and mentorship programs in school and communal outreach programs, we can help spark interest and provide guidance for students interested in pursuing S.T.E.A.M. careers.

Address systemic racism: Racism and discrimination can create a hostile environment for black males in S.T.E.A.M. fields, leading to low representation and high attrition rates. Addressing systemic racism and creating a more inclusive environment in S.T.E.A.M. fields can help attract and retain black males.

Provide mentorship and support: Mentorship and support programs can help guide and encourage black males interested in pursuing S.T.E.A.M. careers.

Raise the roof!

Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

Think STEM Careers! You Have The Opportunity to Create The Future And The Privilege Of Deciding What's In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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