Diversity in Science – Where I’m Coming From

Underrepresented voices in science offer unique perspectives


Photo above provided by Jackie Ricciardi.

SCIENCE, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO INVESTIGATE the entirety of the physical and natural world, is missing something. So is engineering. According to a report issued last year by the National Science Foundation (NSF), blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented both as recipients of degrees in science and engineering and in the science and engineering workforce. The same NSF report found that while women have reached parity with men among science and engineering degree recipients, they make up disproportionately smaller percentages of employed scientists and engineers than they do of the US population, and that while people with disabilities are as likely as others to enroll in science and engineering studies, they also remain underrepresented in the workforce. That imbalance is a problem for those underrepresented groups, and many observers consider it a problem for science and engineering, two life-changing fields that lack the benefit of the wealth of perspectives shared by the country’s increasingly diverse population.

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