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City College of San Francisco Works to Bridge the Science Gap

The City College of San Francisco prepares students for biological science and tech careers.

What do mythological stories from Native American tradition, ancient fossils and STEM mentoring have in common? They can all help propel Native American students to STEM careers, according to Dr. Kent Smith.

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Speakers at the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting last week warned that state by state divestment in higher education shows little sign of reversing ― and prospects of funding from the federal government are no rosier.

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The newly created Office for the Advancement of Native Americans in Medicine and Science, headed up by Dr. Kent Smith, a professor of anatomy, is reaching out to the 39 federally recognized tribes of Oklahoma.

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With an NSF grant of nearly $200,000, which the college received in the fall of 2012, A-B Tech Community College was able to bring up the number of women in targeted STEM programs from 39 to 75, nearly doubling their numbers.

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The university aims to boost the proportion of underrepresented minorities who are biomedical and behavioral sciences majors in the annual graduating class to 40 percent.

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The SABES program came about from a series of discussions at Johns Hopkins on how to best formulate a collaboration between the School of Education, the Whiting School of Engineering and Baltimore City Public Schools.

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Even though the University of Nebraska―Lincoln’s Dr. Joseph Francisco didn’t have a role model at home who had gone to college — his grandparents, whom he lived with, did not go further than the second and third grade — he built his foundation to be a leader in academia there.

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In order to increase and maintain gender and ethnic diversity within the STEM professoriate, the “guru mentor model” should be scrapped and replaced with a more thoughtful approach to the specific needs that new STEM faculty members have as they seek to launch their careers.

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Even though mastery of math and science is a critical part of the effort to achieve more proportionate Black representation in STEM fields, a bigger part of the equation is to spark student interest in STEM careers.

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