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Identifying the Top STEM Professionals of Color - getting started

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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?

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

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