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Spelman College Joins White House Consortium to Improve STEM Diversity


ATLANTA (Oct. 16, 2015) -- Spelman College will help bridge the gap between girls and women of color in technology and coding as part of the new White House STEM collaborative “Champions of Change – Young Women Empowering Their Communities” program.

In September, the White House announced the STEM Collaborative, a consortium of 19 colleges and universities and nonprofit partners around the nation committed to diversifying the STEM fields. Jo Handelsman, associate director of the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy, said the consortium’s goal is to identify and scale effective, evidence-based strategies to improve STEM diversity at the nation’s colleges and universities, with a special focus on women and girls of color from under-represented communities. Watch video.

"Given Spelman’s rich legacy in STEM outreach, education, and workforce development for under-represented women and girls, we share the vision of the national STEM collaborative and are pleased to join this effort,” said Carmen Sidbury, Ph.D., Spelman associate provost for research. “The collaborative will invigorate efforts at colleges and universities to produce a better-educated workforce to ensure continued prosperity for all Americans."

With the establishment of the consortium, the White House aims to transform the way STEM is taught. “By encouraging innovations in STEM teaching, addressing the issue of bias, and also awareness of the types of teaching we use, we are trying to promote positive images of scientists and engineers and promote new ways of teaching that will benefit a broad group of diverse students,” said Handelsman.

Arizona State University will lead the collaborative. Spelman and other members will help to assemble a tool kit and online workshops, provide training for hiring managers and key personnel in how to recognize and effectively address bias, track the experiences of women of color in STEM majors, and provide support that includes a database of programs that can assist them.

Other educational institutions in the consortium are Amherst College, City College of New York, Diné College, Maricopa Community Colleges, University of Alabama, University of California-Riverside, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.  

Nonprofit institutions taking part in the initiative are the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Arizona STEM Network, Iridescent, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, National Math + Science Initiative, National Society of Black Engineers, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, STEAM4Us! and the Surge Assembly.

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