Recruiting Students to Science
Thursday / December 10, 2020
The focus for recruiting into science used to be geared towards women as they were the smaller demographic in this area. The gap has lessened considerably between men and women in this field with the new focus now being to recruit minorities into science.
Why is diversity in science important?
Diversity in any field is important, but especially for science. We bring our unique perspective and look at things in different ways, develop different solutions, problem solve, and collaborate based on our unique perspective. Science fields are disruptors by nature, and influence us all in some way which means we want this field to lead to better science.
Each person that is in the field can bring their diverse experiences and areas of expertise to be more creative and innovative in their solutions. Questions drive science forward. Scientists with different perspectives will ask different questions and hopefully lead to new insights. When finding solutions, scientists are influenced by their values and new techniques lead to new knowledge.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a field that focuses on increasing interest in these fields as early as elementary and continuing to build on the education throughout high school and college. STEM shows students how the scientific methods can be applied to everyday life and real-world applications to problem solving. STEM is aimed at attracting underrepresented populations.
Unfortunately, 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM career. Nearly 28 percent of high school freshmen declare an interest in a STEM-related field, but 57 percent of these students will lose interest by the time they graduate from high school. It’s difficult to attract students to science-related fields, and the diversity gap is growing even more.
Fortunately, there are several campus groups that are focused on fostering an appreciation for science and STEM-related fields. These STEM groups and organizations can help you interact with students that are taking similar classes and career paths you are interested in. These are also great groups to become involved in if you are interested in science, technology, engineering or mathematics to find the career path that fits you.
Marshalltown Community College also offers a group called Pair-a-Docs. This group is specifically for students interested in medical fields. This group provides unique experiences that will help student decide if a medical career is right for them and empower them to reach their goals.
MCC also offers an Ecology club for those interested in more of the “natural world” science. The club meetings include speakers and activities that focus on conservation, plants and animals, and sustainable living.
Ellsworth Community College offers opportunities to get involved beyond lab time as well. The Conservation Club provides social and outdoor, monthly events for members including opportunities to participate in local and regional field trips, community service projects, and social events.
These organizations at MCC are a great way to become involved as well as have the mentoring of faculty to help guide you in course selection as well as helping you find the career that would fit your interests.
Add another acronym to the science world….LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation). This is a somewhat new organization started in 2011. This group is an extension of the STEM partnership. This Midwest organization including Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska is committed to broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM education.
Through this organization there are also stipends to complete trainings and participate in conferences. There is also funding available for summer research programs for underrepresented students. In recent years, MCC has sponsored 3-4 students for these programs at either Iowa State University or the University of Iowa.
If you are interested in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, don’t hesitate to find out more information about the programs that are available through Ellsworth Community College and MCC or explore through the clubs and organizations that are available.