BusinessEducationNew Grant to Boost Diversity for Virginia Tech STEM...

New Grant to Boost Diversity for Virginia Tech STEM Program

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With Black and Hispanic workers still underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers, Virginia Tech is partnering with Boeing to close that gap – by building what they hope will be the most diverse graduate technology campus in the nation.

Boeing’s $50 million grant will fund the school’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria with scholarships, fellowships and a mix of academic programs.

Lance Collins, Virginia Tech vice president and executive director of Tech’s Innovation Campus, said many minority students don’t get exposure to engineering and math classes in some K-12 schools, which can limit their options for pursuing STEM careers.

“The equity question is, of course, a central feature of this effort,” said Collins. “Recognizing that – the lack of access from groups, women and underrepresented minorities, has a financial toll to those communities. And this is our attempt at rectifying it.”

He said scholarship opportunities will start this fall for masters’ degrees and for potential future students looking to complete prerequisite courses to qualify for Innovation Campus admissions.

The school will also fund pathway classes for underrepresented K-12 students who want to major in a STEM program in college. Collins pointed out the tech industry loses out on an entire pool of talent that’s never activated because of lack of educational opportunities.

“You also lose a diversity of perspectives and ideas, and creativity,” said Collins. “And diverse groups bring more ideas to the table. And if you’re solving complex problems, the more ideas you have, the higher likelihood of getting the best solution.”

Computer science and Internet Technology fields are projected to add more than a half million jobs by 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Pew Research Center report finds Hispanic workers now make up 8% of folks in STEM occupations. Black workers are 9%, with just 7% in computing.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

STEM

Con los trabajadores negros e hispanos todavia marginados en las carreras STEM, Virginia Tech se esta asociando con Boeing para cerrar esa brecha, construyendo lo que esperan que sea el campus de tecnologia para graduados mas diverso de la nacion.

El subsidio de 50 millones de dolares de Boeing financiara el Campus de Innovacion de Alexandria con becas, fraternidades y una combinacion de programas academicos.

Lance Collins, director ejecutivo Tech’s Innovation Campus , dice que muchos estudiantes de minorias no estan expuestos a clases de ingenieria y matematicas en algunas escuelas K-12, lo que puede limitar sus opciones para seguir carreras STEM.

“La cuestion de la equidad es, por supuesto, una caracteristica central de este esfuerzo,” dice Collins. “Reconocer que la falta de acceso de grupos – mujeres y minorias subrepresentadas – tiene un costo financiero para esas comunidades. Y este es nuestro intento de rectificarlo.”

El dice que las oportunidades de becas comenzaran este otono para los titulos de maestria y para los potenciales futuros estudiantes que buscan completar los cursos prerrequisito para calificar para las admisiones al Campus de Innovacion.

La escuela tambien financiara clases especiales para estudiantes de K-12 con poca representacion que quieran especializarse en un programa STEM en la universidad. Collins senala que la industria de la tecnologia pierde grupos de talentos nunca activados debido a la falta de oportunidades educativas.

“Tambien pierde diversidad de perspectivas e ideas y creatividad,” agrega Collins. “Y los grupos diversos aportan mas ideas a la mesa. Y si esta resolviendo problemas complejos, cuantas mas ideas tenga, mayor sera la probabilidad de obtener la mejor solucion.”

Se proyecta que los campos de la informatica y la tecnologia de la informacion agreguen mas de medio millon de puestos de trabajo para 2029, segun la Oficina de Estadisticas Laborales.

Un informe del Pew Research Center encuentra que los trabajadores hispanos ahora representan el ocho por ciento de las personas en ocupaciones STEM. Los trabajadores negros son el nueve por ciento, con solo el siete por ciento en informatica.

La Fundacion Lumina proporciono apoyo para este informe.

Sunshine Slate
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