Expanding Opportunities for All: Science and Engineering Careers
April 05, 2021
Building Equity in STEM
While a diverse workforce in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is known to drive innovation and higher profits, Louisiana and the rest of the nation still lag behind when it comes to recruiting and retaining Black and Latinx scientists and engineers. Women are also vastly underrepresented (except in healthcare), and meanwhile, STEM professions are the fastest growing and highest earning. Interestingly, workers trained in these areas also earn more in non-STEM occupations, a difference of 15-20%. This leaves a significant race and gender employment and pay gap.
LSU is trying to solve this problem, working toward equity and diversity all across campus. Through at least 20 programs that often reach beyond campus borders into local communities and schools, all the way from kindergarten through college and into professional life, almost a thousand minority students in Louisiana are connected with STEM resources and research each year on the LSU campus, especially in the College of Science, College of Engineering, and College of the Coast & Environment.
One of them is Brodrick Vincent who first participated in LSU’s EnvironMentors program as a student at Scotlandville High School. He then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from LSU, before enrolling in the LSU kinesiology program. Last December, he graduated with a master’s degree.
“Learning about scientific techniques, procedures, and experimentation as a high schooler definitely helped me later on,” Vincent said. “It was a great opportunity and contributed to my lasting love for scientific learning.”
“Many people make assumptions about me because of my accent, skin color, and bold personality, but I am not your average person. I come from a highly educated family, where my dad graduated from Xavier and my mom from Dillard. [But] if it wasn’t for Dr. Warner at LSU pushing me as an undergraduate at Xavier and then graduate student at LSU, I wouldn’t be where I am today—negotiating multimillion-dollar new technology deals, bringing a diverse set of people to the table, and collaborating and innovating with experts across the world.”
Alicia “Lee” Williams, New Energies Technology Supply Chain Lead and former GameChanger at Shell (Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, LSU ’07)