The National STEM Collaborative

Arizona State University’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology formed The National STEM Collaborative (NSTEMC) as a consortium of higher education institutions and non-profit partners to scale research-based best skills and knowledge, resources and practices on access, completion, and workforce development for women of color in STEM.  The Collaborative and plan of work are important because African American and Latina adolescent girls express more interest in STEM careers than their White counterparts; yet, relatively fewer enter and persist in STEM majors and in the workforce.  According to the National Science Foundation (2012, 2013), minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers with only 5 percent of Asian women, 5 percent of African American women, less than 1 percent of Native American women, and 2 percent of Hispanic women represented in the science and engineering labor force in the U.S. This compares poorly with women as a whole, which made up 28 percent of all workers in science and engineering occupations in 2010.

Our Mission is not to simply populate the STEM pipeline with more women of color.  Rather we seek to provide institutions, students, leaders, corporations, and organizations the skills and resources to change the pipeline to be more equitable for more underrepresented women. 

Over a 3-5 year timespan, the Collaborative will engage in a series of three interdependent strategies that advocate for girls and women of color in STEM at each tier of the pipeline, specifically: 

  • Knowledge amplification: Providing valid and reliable data that can be put into immediate practice in p-20 education settings, and disseminating partner research and best practices around advocating for girls and women of color in STEM.
  • Networking resources: Providing a pool of talented students and faculty, while increasing the availability of opportunities for girls and women of color to enter and persist in STEM postsecondary programs and beyond.
  • Scaling best practices: Supporting bold pipeline programs that funnel girls and women of color from community colleges into 4-year universities.

Click here to learn more about how NSTEMC amplifies knowledge. 

Knowledge Amplification

The Obama administration, under the direction of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has pushed STEM education to the forefront of education reform and recently announced a $170 million request for new STEM funding (US Department of Education, 2014a). As such, a substantial amount of research is being conducted to advance our nation’s knowledge of the experiences that students need to sustain their engagement, motivation, and efficacy from K12 to STEM careers. Although there is a considerable amount of extant knowledge on girls in STEM, there continues to be insufficient research and knowledge on what needs to be done to sustain the engagement, motivation, and efficacy of girls of color in STEM.  There continues to be insufficient attention to the unique and dynamic experiences that girls of color encounter while trying to navigate STEM education spaces (Aschbacher & Roth, 2010; Carlone & Johnson, 2007).

The Collaborative engages researchers and initiatives that provide valid and reliable data.  Collaborative members and partners will have exclusive access to these data in order to put into immediate practice in p-20 education settings effective strategies for girls and women of color in STEM.  We will also disseminate members' and partners' research around advocating for girls and women of color in STEM.

Past Research

The following two presentations were among many conducted at a July 9, 2015 co-hosted meeting by CGEST and the White House Council on Women and Girls.

"Spurring Holistic U.S. Federal Investment In Support of Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)" - A Report by the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology at Arizona State University

Current Research

The University of Florida's Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS) has made an initial commitment to fund 5 interns in the name of the Collaborative to support its work.

Upcoming Research

ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is partnering with the National Wildlife FederationThe Nature Conservancy, and the Ecological Society of America to identify promising underserved high school students, recruit them to ASU, mentor them through university and provide professional opportunities that see graduates into successful and impactful careers in conservation science and policy. As part of this work, we recently hosted a workshop (August 2015) at the ESA Centennial Meeting in Baltimore, MD on what works to recruit, matriculate, and retain disadvantaged youth in undergraduate ecological degree programs?  This workshop was attended primarily by minority students, ranging in age from high school to post-doc level, resulting in a valuable discussion between the panelists and attendees. Sharon Hall and Anita Hagy Ferguson are working with CGEST and ASU scholars to develop integrated programs for engaging diverse students in STEM.  

Emerging Scholars

Graduate students in CGEST Affiliate Leah Gerber’s laboratory in the School of Life Sciences are committed to diversity in STEM. 

  • Third year PhD student Yaiyr Astudillo-Scalia is engaging Native Hawaiian underserved youth in research and outreach education on humpback whales.  As a Hispanic-American, Yaiyr is committed to promoting Hispanic participation in STEM as well.  
  • Having grown up on the West Coast of Africa, First-year PhD student Marielle Abalo brings a unique perspective to her scientific endeavors.  Marielle studies sea lions and finds that marine mammals are a captivating way to engage and motivate underrepresented group in STEM (especially marine ecology!). 

Networking Resources

Online Network Community

Members and Partners can create a profile, participate in a working group, and join our online network community hosted by the Science Foundation Arizona. To join, click here

Upcoming Networking Events

3rd Annual Women of Color STEM Entrepreneurship Conference: Emerging Governance and Innovation in STEM
October 4–6, 2018

The conference is a collaborative effort to:

  • highlight the accomplishments of women and girls from diverse communities,
  • educate women and girls of color through knowledge sharing and capacity building, and
  • encourage institutions and industries to recruit and retain women and girls of color in STEM fields.

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Past Networking Events

Regional Convenings - Southeast
March 31, 2017

A regional convening is a systemic gathering of leaders from key post-secondary institutions in a specified geographical area. During the meeting, participants learn about collaborative opportunities and resources that align with their personal and institutional vision for inclusive STEM initiatives. 

The inaugural National STEM Collaborative regional convening was hosted by the University of Alabama and included the following southeastern institutions: University of Central Florida, Mississippi State University, University of West Alabama, University of Alabama in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, Furman University, Georgia Tech, Birmingham-Southern College, Shelton State University, Birmingham-Southern University, and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. Participants included faculty and administrators from various levels.

2nd Annual Women of Color STEM Entrepreneurship Conference - Herstory is Our Story: Creating a Legacy through STEM Entrepreneurship

March 23 - 25, 2017 

The conference was a collaborative effort to advocate for increased participation of women of color in entrepreneurship experiences and small business enterprise; to advance entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial student engagement; and to transform the ways that entrepreneurship is viewed, taught and experienced in higher education.

Inaugural Women of Color STEM Entrepreneurship Conference - The New Normal: Women of Color Innovations and Achivements through STEM Entrepreneurship

May 20-22, 2016

The National STEM Collaborative co-hosted this convening along with Arizona State University's Office of Entrepreneurship + Innovation, School of Earth and  Space Exploration, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and Harvard University. The conference had a series of workshops aimed at increasing participation of women of color in entrepreneurship experiences and small business enterprise; advancing entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial student engagement; and transforming the ways that entrepreneurship is viewed, taught and experienced in higher education.

Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology at Arizona State University Launch 

January 11, 2016

Arizona State University’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) invited their partners and community members to join them for the official launch of CGEST. The Center is the result of participation from women belonging to diverse race-ethnic-social class groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Despite efforts to narrow divides, there are no coordinated interdisciplinary research and evidence-based strategies that consider girls and women of color, their identities, and potential impact in these fields. The Center will actively drive the discourse and experiences of underrepresented girls in STEM by owning, generating and critiquing the collective body of scholarship on, and offering culturally responsive programs for, girls of color (e.g. African American, Native American, Latina, and Asian American) and STEM education. Through our work we will create an interdisciplinary, racially-ethnically diverse Community of scholars, students, policy makers, and practitioners who explore, identify, and ultimately create innovative scholarship about and best practices for under-represented girls (p-20) in STEM. To RSVP, click here.

African American Women in STEM Event

December 7, 2015

The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans co-hosted an event focused on African American women in STEM in Washington, DC. This event was a continuation of the co-hosted reception hosted on October 6, 2015 that served as an introduction and reunion for African American women leaders within the STEM ecosystem. The reception allowed the group to identify points of synergy for our individual and collective missions.

African American Women in STEM Reception
The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans co-hosted a wine reception for African American women in STEM on October 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. Building on the momentum from the September 15, 2015 White House announcement about the ASU-led National STEM Collaborative to support girls and women of color in STEM, this networking reception served as an introduction and reunion for African American women leaders within the STEM ecosystem. We identified points of synergy for our individualand collective missions. To watch Dr. Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, make the Collaborative announcement, click here.

Scaling Best Practices

The Collaborative will work to scale effective strategies that recruit, retain, and place women of color into STEM careers.  Based on culturally responsive research approaches, we  support and implement bold pipeline programs that funnel girls and women of color from community colleges into 4-year universities and STEM careers and develop scaleable projects.

Pipeline Programs

Collaborative members and partners receive access to a robust list of well-vetted programs proven to positive impact girls and women of color in STEM.  Included in the list:

Scaleable Projects

The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study revealing how teacher bias early in a girl's education has significant effects on her later success in STEM subjects, including whether or not she chooses to take classes in those subjects in high school.  Search committees for institutions of higher education and corporations struggle to diversify their faculty and workforce.  Collaborative members and partners will have access to an innovative on-line Implicit Bias Workshop.  Based on a newly-created platform, Beagle, participants will engage in a personalized learning experience that will invariably change their hiring practices to be more inclusive.