Page 8 - LWTech 2021 Tranformations Magazine: Narrowing the STEM Gender Gap
P. 8

                      Narrowing
the Gender
                     Gender and racial representation in STEM classrooms is pivotal in creating a diverse STEM workforce.
According to GirlsPursuingScience.com,* “In 2012, white women earned 6,777 Ph.D. degrees in STEM fields. On the other hand, white men earned 8,478 Ph.D. degrees. For African American women, that number dwindles to 684—10 times fewer scientific doctorates than their white counterparts. With only 3.5% of STEM bachelor degrees, Latina women face an even larger obstacle.”* This trend continues, and according to a 2019 report from the National Science Foundation, the share of science and engineering research doctorates held by women “was 41% versus their 51.5% of the population and 47% of the labor force.”** As with their African American and Latina women counterparts, the National Science Foundation’s data shows American Indians or Alaska Natives as well as Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders are still vastly underrepresented in STEM fields.*** Furthermore, the 2019 NSF report notes that almost
70% of scientists and engineers employed full time are white.
Removing gender and racial gaps in STEM fields begins in the classroom. Students Angela Lee and Amanda King have seen this modeled by LWTech instructors and administrators like Dr. Amber Wyman, Michelle Judy, Stephanie Bostwick, Dr. Narayani Choudhury, and Dean Dr. Aparna Sen,
as together, they work to narrow the gender and racial gaps in STEM fields, one student and one class at a time.
                                  The U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration** reported, “Women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, but they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs.” The report also states, “There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-
friendly flexibility in the STEM fields.”
** https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf19304/
Computer Science-DTA student Angela Lee has found it helps to have instructors who’ve had have similar experiences in STEM. Similarly, recent LWTech Biology-DTA graduate Amanda King is looking forward to beginning her Bachelor’s program
in General Sciences after her gap year. “Once I started seeing the gender gap in STEM, having female instructors encouraged me to keep going. I had someone teaching me that I was able
to relate to, and if they were that successful, I could see myself in their shoes, being successful too.”
Roughly 50% of LWTech’s STEM
s STE
enc
Ih
faculty identify as women. Not only that
are LWTech’s female instructors providing essential skills in a hands-on learning environment, but they’re also serving as role models and mentors to female STEM students.
Math Instructor Michelle Judy says she was encouraged by a female teacher in elementary school. “I was
if t I cou
 Dean, Dr. Aparna Sen, Health Sciences (L) works with a student.
* Previously published/cited
*** Previously published/cited
7 | Lake Washington Institute of Technology
(Above) Stephanie Bostwick, Engineering, Physics and Math Professor (R), with a student.
Success in STEM
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