NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Studies show Black professionals make up only 9% of STEM workers in the United States, with the representation gap even larger for Hispanic professionals.
This racial issue is just one of many college students are discussing to try and fix it in the STEM field.
Students and faculty participated in this topic during a 10-week fellowship with STEM, humanities, and social.
These students attend college at Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Tennessee State University, and a few others.
They also had to make artwork that revealed their identity and how their identity has been impacted by their communities and the people around them. The art exhibit is in the Wond’ry on the campus of Vanderbilt University.
Biomedical Engineering Research Professor Dr. Charleson Bell thinks making people aware of these disparities will make the situation better as the next generation comes through and tries to become leaders in the STEM field.
“That's the first step into making a change that happens with the individual realizing that yes, I do have bias. Yes, I do recognize that there's disparities here and after that recognition, you have to make that recognition and transform it into action. What am I going to do about it,” Bell said.
College students also discussed how there's not enough representation in the scientific field and it’s hard for their voices to be heard.
“I tend to think of all of these scientific understandings as just how things have always been but not really considering how they've been impacted. By things like the social culture at the time, the dominant framework at the time, who was in power at that time. So, it has really opened my eyes up and is emboldening me to like to think more critically going forward as I continue to study science,” said Janet Mariadoss, a junior at Vanderbilt University.
The art exhibit is on display for the rest of Black History Month.
It can be viewed in person or online virtually.