Raising STEMM equity and excellence


Leaders from across science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) this week convened in Washington, D.C., to launch the STEMM Equity and Excellence 2050 – A National Strategy for Progress and Prosperity.

Spearheaded by the STEMM Opportunity Alliance and in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the conference — co-hosted by the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy — marked a pivotal moment in shaping the future of STEMM education and workforce development. With a profound emphasis on inclusivity and equity, the national strategy aims to revolutionize the landscape of opportunity in STEMM fields – particularly for those from diverse backgrounds – and the broader U.S. As a part of the national strategy, the American Association of Community Colleges was invited to attend as a national partner.

The convening opened against a backdrop of growing recognition of the critical role that STEMM fields play in driving innovation and economic prosperity. However, persistent disparities in access, representation and outcomes have limited the full realization of STEMM’s potential. Addressing these disparities has become imperative for all our communities and our nation.

At the heart of the strategic partnership is a commitment to equity: ensuring that all individuals, regardless of background or circumstances, have access to high-quality STEMM education and opportunities. Serving as critical pathways to higher education and career advancement for all students, community colleges already play a vital role in providing and expanding access to STEMM education and building a skilled STEMM workforce. Community colleges, as hubs of learning and innovation, are well-positioned to serve as integral partners in a national and coordinated strategy to promote equity in STEMM fields.

Throughout the day, keynote speakers – including Gilda Barabino, president of Olin College of Engineering and chair of the AAAS board of directors; AAAS CEO Supid Parikh; April Ericsson, assistant secretary of defense for science and technology at the U.S. Department of Defense; and Kei Koizumi, who directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – described targeted investments, partnerships and policy initiatives that will be advanced and deployed as part of the national strategy. Taken together, the efforts aim to make STEMM equity and excellence a national priority. The strategy will include providing resources for STEMM programs, enhancing faculty development, and expanding mentorship and internship opportunities, all while fostering a culture of equity.

Speakers continued to underscore that in strengthening the STEMM pipeline, the strategy aims to capture the full potential of untapped talent across the spectrum of diverse identities and communities.

To tackle future challenges, the U.S. needs to grow its talent pool and ensure that everyone, including those who have not had opportunities in STEMM before, can contribute to these critical fields. The national strategy aligns with and enhances other national priorities, including workforce development, innovation and global competitiveness. Throughout the event, conveners remarked that in an increasingly technologically driven world, investing in STEMM equity is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic imperative for the nation’s long-term prosperity and security.

The convening left the participants with hope, ambition and determination. It was a call to action for educators, industry leaders and policymakers to come together in pursuit of a shared vision. The journey ahead will be challenging, but with an unwavering commitment and collective efforts, it holds a brighter future where STEMM equity and excellence go hand-in-hand.

About the Author

Kevin Christian
Dr. Kevin Christian is director of diversity, inclusion and equity at the American Association of Community Colleges.
The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.