STEM Students in High Demand

Dr. Tommie Turner

Dr. Tommie Turner

The demand for individuals in STEM is ever increasing, and the number of qualified STEM professionals is having a hard time keeping up.  Within minorities, “African Americans compose just 6 percent of the STEM workforce according to a 2013 report by the US Census Bureau” (which can be found here:http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-24.pdf )

Tommie Turner, PhD, and Director of the Institute for Science and Mathematics at Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) discussed the future of filling the demand for STEM professionals.

What can be done about this ever-increasing need for STEM workers, especially for those that fall in the minority?  

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that offer STEM degrees can partner with other organizations. She highlights existing partnerships at HSSU in her 2014 elsevierconnect article, “To recruit more students, the university formed partnerships with local institutions. HSSU and Saint Louis University (SLU) signed an agreement to offer students a dual degree in mathematics and engineering. Also, HSSU has a collaborative articulation agreement with the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes Jewish College.”

How can a change of this magnitude be feasible?

Dr. Turner credits the $2.5 million dollar award granted from the National Science Foundation in 2008, NSF Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) Implementation Grant for increasing STEM retention. Using these funds to move forward various STEM initiatives has produced measurable success in STEM majors. HSSU reported 67 STEM majors participating in undergraduate research between 2009 and 2014. This trajectory indicates a strong commitment to the success and engagement of students at HSSU.

Dr. Turner’s leadership at HSSU is impactful at many levels - She leads the Science and Mathematics Summer Academy for first-year HSSU students, oversees the science and mathematics tutorial program, assists with the faculty mentoring program, develops strategies to assist in the retention and matriculation of students in STEM program areas, and serves as a liaison between university units and the external STEM community.

Original source article published in Elsevier Connect:

http://www.elsevier.com/connect/how-our-historically-black-university-expanded-to-offer-stem-degrees

Article overview provided by Jessica Sauer

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