The newly released 2015 STEM Index and the recent STEM Solutions Conference resulted in numerous articles and analyses that can be accessed at the above links. The STEM Index measures science, technology, engineering and mathematics activity in the U.S. each year. The data show that while the number of jobs, types of degrees granted and level of student interest in the STEM fields continues to increase since 2000, the multimillion dollar efforts by both the public and the private sectors have failed to close gender and racial gaps in STEM.
The 2015 Index, created with support from Raytheon, shows a slight uptick in STEM-related education and employment activity in the United States compared to last year. But the raw data show gaps between the men and women and between whites and minorities remain deeply entrenched -- and, in some cases, have even widened. With few exceptions, women lag behind men in the number of STEM degrees granted, exam scores and general interest in the STEM fields. White and Asian students and college graduates overwhelmingly outperformed black, Hispanic and American Indian students in all three metrics.
The results match a February report by the STEM advocacy group Change the Equation, which found that the STEM workforce is no more diverse now than it was 14 years ago. Another report last year by the National Science Board also found women and minorities remain underrepresented in the STEM fields.
Local summer STEM camps, including the Arboretum's Eco Explorers Summer Camps, are one way the Flagstaff community supports STEM literacy. Thank you to W.L. Gore Foundation for providing funding for 30 partial and full scholarships for local Flagstaff children to attend this camp. Please join the conversation on what WE can do to continue making progress in both STEM literacy and support for STEM careers in our own community.