Over the last decade, increasing diversity has become a top priority for organizations across the country. In particular, many universities are investing in initiatives that prioritize the cultivation of a diverse student body. One specific field that has struggled acutely with diversity is STEM, and many are hoping that new solutions will help solve this problem.
Thankfully, this is beginning to change as organizations are taking the initiative to attract a more diverse range of professionals to these fields. Specifically, many higher education institutions are utilizing diversity scholarships as a means of making a beneficial impact on the amount of diversity among students.
Understanding the incredible value offering these types of scholarships can have is key to understanding how the STEM fields are evolving in today’s world.
Here is the importance of diversity scholarships in STEM education and how they can help close the gap.
Increasing Representation in STEM Fields
One of the main reasons that many individuals from diverse backgrounds don’t pursue careers in STEM fields is the fact that they don’t see themselves represented. This can make these fields seem intimidating. As a result, the STEM fields have continued to seem like unwelcoming fields to those from diverse backgrounds.
However, diversity scholarships offer universities a chance to disrupt this pattern and start bolstering more representation in these fields. By giving individuals from diverse backgrounds opportunities to step into STEM, there is a greater likelihood that these individuals will go on to have impressive and visible professional careers in STEM.
The more diverse professionals, teachers, and students there are in STEM, the more diverse individuals will feel compelled to pursue an education and career in the field. This being the case, offering diversity scholarships gives schools a chance to make a dramatic impact on the STEM fields and representation. Hopefully, the future of education will feature diversity as a normalized aspect in all STEM departments.
Making STEM More Accessible for Marginalized Groups
While STEM programs across the country may have good intentions, this doesn’t always translate into accessibility. In fact, scores of individuals from marginalized groups have a much more difficult time entering the STEM fields for several distinct reasons. As a result, STEM programs typically have a marked lack of students who come from traditionally marginalized groups.
One of the main barriers between individuals from marginalized groups and STEM programs is cost. A disheartening fact is that those from marginalized groups typically have less access to resources than those from other groups. This makes it incredibly difficult to commit to STEM education programs that can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
Another key reason that those from marginalized groups find difficulty entering STEM programs is a lack of inclusivity and diversity. Though programs may think they’re being welcoming to a diverse array of individuals, not having a diverse student body and staff can make diverse students feel unwelcome.
Fortunately, diversity scholarships in STEM have the power to help remedy both of these important issues. As it pertains to cost, scholarships can take the financial burden away from students from marginalized groups and their families. As a result, they’ll feel much more inclined to take the leap and join STEM programs.
In terms of feeling welcome, scholarships of this nature can signal to diverse students that programs are truly committed to diversity and inclusion. In addition, the more of these types of scholarships that programs offer, the more diverse and enticing they’ll become. Ultimately, diversity scholarships can help close the gap for individuals from marginalized groups and make STEM fields more diverse and welcoming.
Sparking Innovation in the STEM Fields
As many in the STEM fields know, innovation is key to propelling the world forward in important ways. Unfortunately, it’s been shown that non-diverse groups and teams are typically less capable of being creative and innovative than their diverse counterparts.
What this highlights is the fact that STEM fields are likely not currently reaching their full potential due to the fact that they aren’t diverse. Thankfully, educational institutions have the power to change this by offering more diverse scholarships and championing inclusion in STEM fields.
By sparking an influx of diverse individuals into STEM with these scholarships, schools will propel STEM fields forward by making teams more innovative, creative, and capable of problem-solving. This could even lead to huge breakthroughs that end up having a dramatically positive impact on the world as we know it. Consequently, it’s clearly important for schools to provide more diversity scholarships and attract more diversity to their programs.
Creating More Inclusive Learning Environments
For diverse students in schools that lack diversity, learning can be difficult. This typically stems from the fact that students may develop feelings of anxiety or self-consciousness from feeling out of place. As a result of feeling these emotions, students are more likely to have difficulty with academic efforts.
To change this, it’s important to make learning environments more diverse. By doing so, students from diverse backgrounds will have more opportunities to excel in their studies and pursue great career roles.
While there are a number of efforts and initiatives that schools and STEM programs can engage in to increase diversity, taking advantage of diversity scholarships is one of the most effective. In this way, diversity scholarships can help universities increase diversity and, as a result, cultivate more inclusive learning environments.
Diversity Scholarships Offer STEM Programs a Path to Inclusivity
For years, many STEM programs have not been successful in diversifying their student bodies. As a result, the STEM fields have a marked lack of diversity amongst their professionals when compared with many other industries.
Thankfully, diversity scholarships have presented themselves as an amazing antidote to this problem. By taking advantage of these scholarships and offering them more, STEM programs have the chance to diversify their programs and create a more welcoming space for all types of people. While there is still a significant amount of progress to be made, many are hopeful that diversity scholarships will become a consistently used tool for STEM programs across the country.