Diversity in STEM

Expert TA is committed to promoting increased diversity, inclusion, and equity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Research shows that diverse perspectives lead to better outcomes and better decision-making. In addition, there has been considerable research over the past two decades about how to create more welcoming and diverse educational environments. With all that said, the challenge is still present and so much work is needed.

The problem is complex and will not be solved or understood by any one group. The path to someone getting an education and then having a career in a STEM field is long and influenced by many factors. Below we highlight a few initiatives, all of which we applaud and support, some financially and in other ways.

In an effort to play our small role in this issue, Expert TA has an initiative designed to increase the participation of women and underrepresented groups. Our Great Problems in STEM initiative is active for physics and is currently expanding into other STEM subjects. If you are interested in participating in the project, please use the form to the right to contact us.

The Research

Below we provide just a few resources for data on this topic and a few papers that discuss factors associated with underrepresentation and offer recommendations to mitigate.

  • National Science Foundation The American Institute of Physics’s collection of survey data, statistics, and reports regarding women and underrepresented groups in physics and astronomy.
  • AIP – Diversity Statistics and Reports: The American Institute of Physics’s collection of survey data, statistics, and reports regarding women and underrepresented groups in physics and astronomy.
  • [1]Diversity in Physics: A 2007 report that outlined the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the field of physics, and offered a “diversity blueprint” for colleges and universities. Dr. Shirley Malcom is Senior Advisor to the CEO and Director of the SEA Change initiative at AAAS.
  • [2]Factors influencing participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields: matched mentors and mindsets Published in the International Journal of STEM Education in 2020. The following are two of the key conclusions of the paper,
    • “Most participants indicated the importance of meeting and being mentored in STEM by those of their same gender and ethnicity, either in person or through media.”
    • “Educators should focus on inclusive learning by highlighting the accomplishments of diverse STEM professionals, to help strengthen feelings of STEM belonging.”

Highlighting Initiatives

There are many groups and organizations working on the problem of underrepresentation in STEM. Below are just a few that we want to highlight.

  • The AAPT – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Physics: The American Association of Physics Teachers has several programs designed to encourage the participation of women in physics. These include STEP UP and HERStories.
  • NACME (The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering): NACME is the largest provider of college scholarships for underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees at schools of engineering.
  • AIP Diversity Initiatives (TEAM UP): The American Institute of Physics’ site brings together the wealth of activities and resources for under-represented minorities in the physical sciences undertaken by AIP and its Member Societies. TEAM UP is the AIP’s Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy.
  • Society of Women Engineers: The Society of Women Engineers is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology. For more than seven decades, SWE has given women engineers a unique place and voice within the engineering industry.
  • Girl Powered: The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and VEX Robotics, with the support of Google and other companies, are working to make robotics reflective of the diverse world we live in. They provide teachers, coaches, Event Partners, and mentors with resources to host Girl Powered Workshops.


[1] Malcom, Shirley, Michael F. Summers, and Freeman A. Hrabowski III. “Diversity in physics.” Phys. Today 59 (2007).
[2] Kricorian, K., Seu, M., Lopez, D. et al. Factors influencing participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields: matched mentors and mindsets. IJ STEM Ed 7, 16 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00219-2
[3] Killpack, Tess L., and Laverne C. Melón. “Toward inclusive STEM classrooms: what personal role do faculty play?.” CBE—Life Sciences Education 15, no. 3 (2016): es3.

Additional References

[4] Beede, David N., Tiffany A. Julian, David Langdon, George McKittrick, Beethika Khan, and Mark E. Doms. “Women in STEM: A gender gap to innovation.” Economics and Statistics Administration Issue Brief 04-11 (2011).

[5] Women and Stem – National Bureau of Economic Research

[6] Botella, Carmen, Silvia Rueda, Emilia López-Iñesta, and Paula Marzal. “Gender diversity in STEM disciplines: A multiple factor problem.” Entropy 21, no. 1 (2019): 30.

[7] Hurtado, Sylvia, Christopher B. Newman, Minh C. Tran, and Mitchell J. Chang. “Improving the rate of success for underrepresented racial minorities in STEM fields: Insights from a national project.” New Directions for Institutional Research 2010, no. 148 (2010): 5-15.

[8] Allen-Ramdial, Stacy-Ann A., and Andrew G. Campbell. “Reimagining the pipeline: Advancing STEM diversity, persistence, and success.” BioScience 64, no. 7 (2014): 612-618.

[9] Dasgupta, Nilanjana, and Jane G. Stout. “Girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: STEMing the tide and broadening participation in STEM careers.” Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1, no. 1 (2014): 21-29.

[10] Peixoto, Aruquia, Carina Soledad González González, Rebecca Strachan, Pedro Plaza, María de los Angeles Martinez, Manuel Blazquez, and Manuel Castro. “Diversity and inclusion in engineering education: Looking through the gender question.” In 2018 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), pp. 2071-2075. IEEE, 2018.

[11] Hrabowski, Freeman A., and Mavis G. Sanders. “Increasing racial diversity in the teacher workforce: One university’s approach.” (2015).

[12] Blackburn, Heidi. “The status of women in STEM in higher education: A review of the literature 2007–2017.” Science & Technology Libraries 36, no. 3 (2017): 235-273.

[13] Fouad, Nadya A., and Mercedes C. Santana. “SCCT and underrepresented populations in STEM fields: Moving the needle.” Journal of Career Assessment 25, no. 1 (2017): 24-39.

[14] Taningco, Maria Teresa V., Ann Bessie Mathew, and Harry P. Pachon. “STEM Professions: Opportunities and Challenges for Latinos in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. A Review of Literature.” Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (2008).