Dec 14, 2022
The White House Office of Science and Technology hosted a summit on Monday to launch a national slate of initiatives to build a more equitable, diversified, and inclusive science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) workforce and bolster the nation’s global competitiveness in these fields.
Lizanne DeStefano, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing, was among the more than 100 invited guests from U.S. government agencies, businesses, education, civic, nonprofit, community-based, and philanthropic organizations to attend the inaugural White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence.
“I was most excited to see how so many of the initiatives of Georgia Tech’s strategic plan are aligned with this federal commitment,” said DeStefano, also a professor of psychology in the College of Sciences. “Our plans to reach out to first-generation college students and their families, support K-12 STEMM teachers at all levels, create engaging STEMM enrichment activities for all Georgia students, and strengthen STEMM pathways are key to improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in STEMM.”
DeStefano, whose research interests include the evaluation and sustainability of innovative STEM educational programs and multi-site initiatives, had previously served as co-chair of the National Science Foundation’s STEM Education Advisory Committee. The group was charged with providing oversight and input for the National STEM Education Strategic Plan, involving 19 federal agencies that support STEM education at various levels.
“Since a portion of the plan addressed diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, this Summit was especially relevant to our work,” she said. “Returning to Washington, D.C. for this momentous occasion in making STEMM education equity and access a national priority was an honor. The state of Georgia is well-positioned to make a real change in this arena with its rich ecosystem of universities and colleges, industry, and community organizations.”
The one-day event included remarks from various government officials in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to eliminate systematic barriers to entry in STEMM followed by a series of panel discussions with representatives from the public and private sectors who work in this space.
The summit concluded with a call to join the STEMM Opportunity Alliance (SOA), a new landmark organization led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The SOA is responsible for coordinating current and future national efforts with over 90 partners from industry, government, education, research, foundations, and organizations already committed to achieving shared goals for equity in STEMM by 2050.
Ensure every person has opportunity to participate in STEMM,
Invest in the STEMM teacher pipeline,
Close the funding gap and invest in community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and community-based organizations,
Dismantle bias and discriminatory practices throughout the STEMM ecosystem, and
Close the STEMM information gap with best practices in evaluation, shared indicators of progress and meaningful disaggregation of data.
— Joëlle Walls, CEISMC Communications