The Black experience, Science in Iowa and STEM
Since its founding in 2017, Science Iowa has largely promoted support for research and evidence-based policy at the national and state levels. We’ve marched, held forums and questioned candidates to advance those goals.
We haven’t, however, done enough to promote racial and gender diversity in scientific fields. And now events have called out the science, technology, engineering and math fields, academia, and American society for their lack of support for underrepresented minorities.
So Science Iowa is adding another objective to its mission: to amplify the voices of Iowans of color working in STEM.
For many of us, the word scientist conjures images of white men in lab coats. But this is an outdated and damaging conception. Scientists are of every color, gender and sexual orientation. Their diverse backgrounds provide varying perspectives and approaches to problems that produce more creative and productive solutions to problems, fueling innovation.
But persons of color who enter academia often find themselves isolated. Black people comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population, but in 2017 made up only 6 percent of faculty at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census report. Those who get academic posts often experience insensitivity and overt racism. Check the Twitter hashtag #Blackintheivory to see what we mean.
So watch this space as we highlight the work of under-represented minority scientists and programs that help increase racial diversity in Iowa STEM. In the meantime, if you’re on social media, follow the Twitter, Instagram or other accounts of those scientists of color whose work interests you. Besides #Blackintheivory, follow @BlackPhysicists, @BlackandSTEM and #BlackandSTEM to find scientists and engineers worth knowing. You’ll learn a lot, and not just about their research.