At a stakeholder summit on December 12, the White House launched the STEMM Opportunity Alliance, a consortium of almost 100 institutions that will work to address barriers and promote equitable participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).
The initiative will coordinate over $1 billion of promised public and private spending, focusing on five “equity and excellence” action areas: promoting science literacy and access to STEMM education, addressing shortages of STEMM teachers, reducing disparities in research funding for underrepresented groups, mitigating bias, discrimination, and harassment in the STEMM workforce, and improving data collection to ensure accountability across the STEMM ecosystem.
Coordinated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the alliance includes federal science agencies, businesses, academic institutions, as well as community-based, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations. (FABBS member AERA is an Alliance Partner.)
Dr. Alondra Nelson, OSTP’s deputy director for science and society, opened and closed the event. A series of panels featured representatives from alliance partners and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the recently retired Chair of the House Science Committee who has long been a champion for increasing diversity in STEMM.
The White House announced a need for more data to develop specific target numbers and metrics for assessing progress. Dr. Nelson has said a key first step will be to press schools, universities and companies to collect and share the most granular data available on STEMM participation among marginalized groups. This has and will continue to be an advocacy priority for FABBS.
The summit also set the stage for the launch of the STEMM Opportunity Alliance (SOA), a national effort by AAAS with the support of the DDCF that will galvanize stakeholders to achieve STEMM equity and excellence by 2050. Learn more at STEMMopportunity.org.
NSF Appoints Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
The National Science Foundation announced last week that Charles Barber will serve as its first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, a role created in response to the CHIPS and Science Act to improve coordination of the agency’s efforts to broaden participation in STEM. Barber will also be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan to advance diversity and equity within NSF’s own workforce. An Army veteran, Barber previously directed diversity, equity, and inclusion programs within the Navy Department and over the past 20 years has held various human resources and management positions at defense agencies. His appointment at NSF begins January 16.