UA Part of National STEM Initiative

  • September 22nd, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama is a founding member in a national effort to support minority women and girls interested in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, the White House recently announced.

Led by Arizona State University’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, the National Academic STEM Collaborative is a consortium of 19 institutions of higher education and nonprofit partners committed to identify and scale effective, evidence-based strategies to improve STEM diversity in the nation’s colleges and universities with a special focus on women and girls of color from under-represented communities.

“At The University of Alabama, we teach students early about the excitement of STEM through our K-12 outreach programs and continue our efforts through the graduate student level, emphasizing the joy of research discoveries,” said Dr. Patricia Sobecky, UA associate provost for academic affairs.

Among the best opportunities for future job growth are for occupations in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to by the acronym STEM.

Occupations in STEM, which require education and training in one and/or more of these fields, make up more than one out of every 10 jobs in the United States. Moreover, the wages in these occupations are approaching nearly twice the U.S. average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The University of Alabama has a host of programs designed and run by faculty and staff who provide educational training, research opportunities and mentoring in STEM disciplines for underrepresented groups including girls, women and minorities.

The White House Council for Women and Girls announced that UA is one of 10 academic institutions and nine organizational partners to be part of the collaborative. Members of the collaborative will help assemble a tool kit and online workshops, train hiring managers and key personnel in addressing bias, track the experiences and support of women of color in STEM majors and build a database of programs that help them.

“We need to transform the way STEM is taught,” said Jo Handelsman, associate director of the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy. “By encouraging innovations in STEM teaching, addressing the issue of bias, and also awareness of the types of teaching we use, we are trying to promote positive images of scientists and engineers and promote new ways of teaching that will benefit a broad group of diverse students.”

Along with Arizona State and UA, the educational institutions are: Amherst College, City College of New York, Diné College, Maricopa Community Colleges, Spelman College, University of California–Riverside, University of Maryland–Baltimore County, and the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

The nonprofit institutions are: American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Arizona STEM Network, Iridescent, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, National Math + Science Initiative, National Society of Black Engineers, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, STEM4Us! and the Surge Assembly.


Adam Jones, UA media relations, 205/348-6444,

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.