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Identifying the Top STEM Professionals of Color – getting started

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I should have written this post many months ago.  In October 2011 I critiqued The Root Top 100 list for failing to include many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals.  Yesterday, I revisited those same feelings when I responded to The Loop 21’s article on We Need More See More Black Faces in Science and Technology Fields.

I can complain suggest all day long that these news services should feature Black Scientists, Engineers, and Innovators, but the truth is, no one just magically knows who these people are/may be.  Everyone needs a lead, especially journalists.

Here’s my attempt to get the ball rolling.  The first step is to identify scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians of color.

How do we acquaint ourselves with these people? Where can we find them?

Answering this question can certainly seem like a daunting task.  However, I have a short cut.

1. The Memberships of affinity professional organizations for African-Americans, Latino, Native American, and Women professionals of every science, technology, and engineering discipline imaginable.

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
Black Engineer of the Year STEM Conference (BEYA)
Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA)
National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP)
Women of Color STEM Conference (WOC STEM)
Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS)
Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)
American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

Just Garcia Hill – A virtual community for Minorities in the sciences, also has the biographies of dozens of scientists.
Minority Postdoc – spotlights individuals and career opportunities for newly minted PhDs, especially in the STEM disciplines

Each of these organizations, not only provide an exhaustive list of STEM professionals, they also provide important information for students interested in learning more about related careers.  They offer mentoring and supplemental education opportunities for students anywhere from middle-school ages to post-graduate age.

2. Thanks to specially endowed scholarships and fellowships, as well as some federally funded graduate education programs, there are cohorts of scholars of color.

Alfred P. Sloan Minority PhD Program
Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program
National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships and the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP)
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)
Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

These institutions are some of the most key funding resources for most STEM scholars.  I am personally indebted to more than one of these funding sources for my graduate research and education.  I can’t name a single scientist or engineer who didn’t apply for at least one of these programs.

3. Participants of diversity scholar programs sponsored by various science research societies.

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Minority Access to Research Careers (FASEB MARC) Peer and Faculty Members Network
American Institute of Biological Sciences Diversity Scholars Award
Society of Wetland Scientists Diversity Program Undergraduate Mentoring Awards
Ecological Society of America Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability Program
Animal Behavior Society Charles H. Turner Program

This list is obviously biased for the life scientists. But this alone gives a novice to science news coverage of the many resources available.

4. Individuals profiled in the 16 editions of the Diversity in Science Carnival. Important innovators from African-American, Latino, Native, and Asian-Pacific Island heritages have been featured in the monthly series.

Now, I’m inviting you to add your own links to resources.  What other resources would you recommend to journalists who wanted to write news stories featuring scientists and engineers?  Who would you want them to profile?

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. donnawanna 4:49 pm 06/5/2012

    Thank you!

    Link to this
  2. 2. DNLee 10:14 am 06/6/2012

    Very Welcome. I’ve been getting feedback from many people all over the web, sharing names and links. I think we’ll have a nice list to share, maybe several lists!

    Link to this
  3. 3. Bashir 3:00 pm 06/6/2012

    I went the route of just googling people for the small list I made at Scientopia.

    http://scientopia.org/blogs/guestblog/2011/12/01/always-bet-on-black/

    Link to this
  4. 4. cisandefur 8:22 pm 06/18/2012

    American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) has a good number of Native STEM professionals: http://www.aises.org

    Link to this
  5. 5. DNLee in reply to DNLee 10:01 am 06/20/2012

    oooh, Yes, How could I forget about AISES! Will add to the list right away.

    Link to this

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