Freeman Hrabowski, writing in the January 14 issue of Science, describes the programs and policies that are needed to address a national shortage of minority students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and pursuing careers in related fields.
“At present, only 6% of all 24-year-old Americans hold an undergraduate degree in STEM disciplines; for African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, the percentage hovers at 2 to 3%,” Hrabowski writes. “To reach a national target of 10% (a target already achieved by several countries), the United States will need to quadruple the number of underrepresented minorities with undergraduate degrees in these disciplines.”
Hrabowski discusses the programs and funding needed to make progress toward this goal, and he calls for the redesign of introductory classes in STEM subjects “to encourage active learning and collaboration. Engaging students through these types of classes should improve the performance of all students, and it could be particularly helpful in reducing the high rate of attrition for many minorities in STEM subjects.”
The article, “Boosting Minorities in Science,” appeared January 14 in Science.