Kristen A. Graham is a Philadelphia-based urban education writer. She discusses several issues within her articles concerning schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. This article discusses a current initiative that is taking place to demolish race and gender disparities with STEM related fields. Throughout the article, Kristen incorporates the ideas of a student, the mayor, and the secretary of the department of education; in order to gain a multifaceted perspective on the state’s education and concurrent advancement of these institutions. You can follow Kristen on Twitter, where she frequently posts about the concerns of the Philadelphia school district; keeping the public updated and informed on local issues and ideas. The full article was originally published August 12, 2020 on The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mariah Wright-Moses dreams of being a neurosurgeon or a forensic scientist. However, no one within her circle works in a science, technology, engineering, or math field, and Wright-Moses finds this discrepancy quite troubling; as she looks to pursue such a career path as a Black woman.
“A lot of people don’t even know about these opportunities,” said Wright-Moses, a junior at String Theory Charter School. “I would love to see more minorities in these careers.”
To that end, a new coalition announced Wednesday that it would contribute $10 million over 10 years to Philadelphia education and after-school programs to knock down the barriers that keep African American and Latinx women out of STEM education.
Sixty organizations will collaborate to carry out the plan. These funds will go toward in-school programs and extracurricular activities, ranging from students in elementary to workforce development programs.
Though women make up half of the college-educated workforce, they make up just 28% of the STEM workforce; Black, Latinx and Native Americans comprise 27% of the adult population, but just 11% of the science and engineering workers. And the Philadelphia School District, primarily composed of children of color, lags behind the rest of the state in science knowledge, according to state exam data.
“TechGirlz is excited to be part of a 10 year, city-wide effort to increase the number of Black, Latinx and female Philadelphia students going into STEM careers. Many of the local organizations involved have been working on this independently for years, but having collaboration between the organizations and funding from GSK will certainly help break down barriers of STEM Equity in Philadelphia much faster.” -Danica Pascavage, TechGirlz Philadelphia Outreach Manager