Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
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Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Upping the Numbers

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are key factors in contributing to future economic performance, higher living standards and improved quality of life. As dominant white males near retirement and immigration slows, developed countries face a serious skill shortage in critical STEM disciplines. This fascinating book examines why the numbers of women and minorities in STEM are low, outlines the potential consequences of this and prescribes much needed solutions to the problem.
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Chapter 5: Voices of the Future: African-American PhD Candidates in the Sciences

Daryl E. Chubin


Daryl E. Chubin A CHRONIC PROBLEM FOR US SCIENCE America’s science and engineering (S&E) workforce barely resembles the rest of America. The gender and ethnic composition of the general US population and workforce is far more diverse. Why is the increasingly diverse student population not opting for S&E careers? Students select careers based on a combination of interests, aptitude, role models, market influences, (mis)information and luck. Graduate and professional schools select students based on a set of indicators (mainly standardized test scores and college performance), perceptions and expectations that are similarly flawed. (For more on this, see www.bestworkforce.org/PDFdocs/BEST_ BridgeforAll_HighEdDesignPrincipals.pdf.) We don’t measure ‘potential’ well. This is especially injurious to those who have not historically participated in these professions, notably minority students, who are a growing segment of the student population. Stereotyping and self-fulfilling prophecies crush aspirations and undermine development of America’s diverse talent pool of African-American, Latino, American-Indian students, and those with disabilities (see www.aaas.org/standingourground). The pattern for African Americans, observed for over half a century among US students, is bleak. The workforces of medicine, law, business and S&E remain overwhelmingly non-minority (www.cpst.org). According to Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities: Summary Report 2004 (www.norc.uchicago.edu/issues/docdata.htm), Fewer than 2000 African American citizens and permanent residents earned PhDs in science and engineering fields. That represents 7 percent of the total awarded in S&E, with African American women earning almost twice as many as men. By broad field, African Americans represented 1.6 percent of the...

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