New National Task Force to Address Lack of Hispanics in Science, Technology
A new task force of leading experts in advanced science education outreach to minority college students has been formed to address the need to increase the ranks of Hispanics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
With a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has appointed 12 top educators from HACU-member colleges and universities in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Arizona and Puerto Rico to form the NSF/HACU Task Force for the National Study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
The goals of the study are:
• Assess the major barriers to Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students successfully completing their STEM degrees.
• Assess the status of U.S. Hispanic STEM faculty at HSIs.
• Assess STEM research and technology infrastructure at HSIs.
• Assess STEM research, education and training programs designed to attract, train and retain Hispanic students and faculty.
• Strengthen the NSF-HACU-HSI partnership.
The HACU/NSF task force met in San Antonio this summer to study current barriers to Hispanic success in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study.
“The caliber of this prestigious task force, coupled with their wide experience in serving large Hispanic student populations at their respective higher education institutions, will surely lead to an effective response to the national crisis we face in the lack of diversity in these professions,” says Dr. Antonio Flores, HACU president and CEO.
Hispanics make up the youngest and largest ethnic population in this country; one of every three new workers joining the U.S. work force today is Hispanic. Yet, Hispanics also suffer the lowest high school and college graduation rates of any major population group, exacerbating already historically low Hispanic representation in STEM professions demanding advanced degrees.
Dr. Gustavo Roig, associate dean of engineering at Florida International University; and Dr. Maria Elena Zavala, a biology professor at California State University-Northridge, were named chairman and vice chairwoman of the task force.
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