At the U.S. News & World Report’s STEM Solutions Leadership Conference in San Diego, the opening keynote panel struck a chord of truly focusing on solutions to the country’s STEM crisis. Ably moderated by celebrated astronaut Leland Melvin, who also hosts Lifetime’s Genius Child, the panel, Making STEM Diversity a National Priority, was composed of Wanda Austin, president and CEO, Aerospace Corp.; Antonio Flores, president and CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF; and Timothy White, chancellor, California State University. All the panelists hold doctoral degrees.
Staying true to the name of the conference, Melvin asked the panelists for their ideas for solving the questions that face our nation: education equity; attracting and retaining more of the underrepresented in STEM; overcoming obstacles to academic and career success in STEM.
The panelists said the following were powerful means of attracting more underrepresented populations to STEM:
- role models – and making sure the media promotes and celebrates STEM standouts from underrepresented communities, such as the former migrant worker who became an astronaut
- rigorous K-12 standards – partnerships with institutions of higher learning can create bridges of success for K-12 students in low income communities
- teachers that affirm and encourage students in STEM subjects
- articulation agreements with community colleges that serve black and Hispanic student populations
- micro communities — making sure students of color get attached to small, interest-based communities if they attend large state institutions such as the California State University system
To view a video of the panel—and it is worth viewing—go to http://livestream.com/eventeq/usnewsstemsolutions/videos/91717622.