The New Jersey STEM Pathways Network launched its “I CAN STEM” diversity and inclusion campaign. Through “I CAN STEM,” the NJSPN aims to support an increase in the diversity of New Jersey’s STEM workforce and academic pipelines. “I CAN STEM” will highlight diverse STEM role models so that all students will be able to see themselves participating and succeeding in STEM courses and careers.
“Equity is at the heart of all the work we do for STEM in the State. “I CAN STEM” is an initiative that will support our continued work towards our goal of making STEM accessible and representative of everyone,” said Kim Case, NJSPN’s manager and executive director of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey.
Black and Hispanic workers continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce. The Pew Research Center’s data on the national STEM workforce confirms that “Blacks make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9% of STEM workers, while Hispanics comprise 16% of the U.S. workforce but only 7% of all STEM workers. And among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, blacks are just 7% and Hispanics are 6% of the STEM workforce.”
Throughout the year, the NJSPN will feature historical and famous “I CAN STEM” role models, such as physicist Shirley Ann Jackson, mathematician Alberto Pedro Calderón, and molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal, as well as New Jersey “I CAN STEM” Inductees representing people of color, LGBTQ+ and women who work in a STEM field here in New Jersey.
The New Jersey “I CAN STEM” Inductees will be selected through a nomination process which will be reviewed by the NJSPN’s New Jersey STEM Strategic Advisory Board . The NJSPN is now accepting nominations on a rolling basis. Anyone can submit a nomination that meets the diversity criteria and works in a STEM field.
“We thought that by including role models right in our state, students could have the opportunity to meet or hear from them in real life and they could learn about the various STEM industries that are right here in New Jersey,” said Shirley Guzman, NJSPN’s project manager.
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