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U.S. Stem Stats Continue to Alarm
Here are just two of many alarming stats shared by Dr. Charles Vest, Chair of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) at the Office of Naval Research's STEM Forum in June:
- 3% of women entering college choose engineering majors but less than 12% graduate.
- The U.S. ranks 28th among nations in putting talent into the STEM pipeline from HS to college.
Under Dr. Vest's leadership, the NAE also has published an important book that frames the discussion at the highest level: Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation. The book details the challenges the nation currently faces in developing a strong and diverse workforce. As the authors note,
"Although minorities are the fastest growing segment of the population, they are underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering. Historically, there has been a strong connection between increasing educational attainment in the United States and the growth in and global leadership of the economy."
The mission we serve is as critical as ever: the number of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields is growing only slightly, if at all, and shrinking in some of the core disciplines we've traditionally served, such as computer science. We know mentoring works to improve retention and graduation rates, especially among students from underrepresented groups, and although it's by no means a total solution, it is part of any healthy and complete attack on this problem.
We are working to expand the numbers of institutions and corporate partners we serve. For your part, since you are likely already involved in MentorNet, it's simply a matter of connecting the dots: let your peers and colleagues know about us.
To learn more about Dr. Vest's book, click here.