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Penn State Seeks to Increase Diversity Among STEM Scholars

Penn State Seeks to Increase Diversity Among STEM Scholars

“program offers full and partial scholarships primarily to women and students of color for science, technology, engineering and math”

This effort doesn’t seem to include intellectual diversity.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Penn State is pushing for more diversity among STEM scholars

Ashley Saunders was exposed to the idea of a doctoral degree in chemistry when her high school teacher, who had one, shared her dissertation on quantum physics.

But Saunders, who is African American, said she didn’t see many black female Ph.D. role models in science-focused fields back home in Fairfax County, Va., a suburb of Washington.

“It’s hard to, I guess, pursue a field where you don’t think you would fit before you’re even there,” she said.

The Millennium Scholars program at Pennsylvania State University changed that. The program offers full and partial scholarships primarily to women and students of color for science, technology, engineering and math — the STEM fields — with the goal of preparing them for doctoral programs.

Saunders, 21, is set to receive her bachelor’s in May and is preparing applications for graduate school. The impact of Penn State’s program? “It’s insanely important,” she said.

Penn State started the program seven years ago to address a need for more Ph.D.-level STEM researchers and leaders from diverse backgrounds, including first-generation students and those who struggle to afford college. About half of its participants have gone on to enter doctoral programs.

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Ashley Saunders was exposed to the idea of a doctoral degree in chemistry when her high school teacher, who had one, shared her dissertation on quantum physics.

But Saunders, who is African American, said she didn’t see many black female Ph.D. role models in science-focused fields back home in Fairfax County, Va., a suburb of Washington.

Why would she need one? What’s wrong with role models who aren’t black, or aren’t female, or are neither?

“It’s hard to, I guess, pursue a field where you don’t think you would fit before you’re even there,” she said.

Why would that even occur to you? If you have the chops, you’ll fit. If you don’t, then no scholarship will help you.

    randian in reply to Milhouse. | December 2, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Our culture teaches non-whites and women that whites and men (or god forbid, white men) are not valid role models for them, what with their white privilege and toxic masculinity.

    For another example, you may have noticed that when girls and women are asked what kind of businesses they’d like to start they are overwhelmingly businesses that serve primarily or only girls and women.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Milhouse. | December 2, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    She’s making excuses so she won’t even have to try. Then, she’ll snivel and whine about racism.

      When i worked for one of the largest utilities they had hired a black girl with a degree in chemistry and assigned her to industrial safety. No degree needed much less a chemical degree but they needed to find a place where she would not do damage because she enjoyed affirmative action in college and knew little of any value. They want job quotas with high pay, impressive titles, and no responsibility.

Sheesh, so much degree inflation. Twenty three year old MBAs who cannot balance a bank statement. PhDs, just because. Hopefully, should she come up with something novel enough to warrant a doctorate, she will not hold out as DOKTOR.

OTOH, chemistry is wonderfully logical study wherein an interested student and capable instructor can really thrive.

FWIW, holding forth as a hyphenated American is despicably trivial. If you’re an American then be so, proudly. If it is so notable and worthy to proclaim malarkey then I am an American-American.

Where would we be if Newton and Leibniz, when they were developing calculus, decided to quit because because they didn’t have any role models to copy?

“It’s hard to, I guess, pursue a field where you don’t think you would fit before you’re even there,” she said.

Sounds like she’s not all that interested in the field. It’s science, it’s not a social club.

One of my brothers is a professor of something-or-other in London—black sheep of the family (can I still say that?)—and he tells stories of the antics they have to go through pretending that incompetent girls can struggle through their dissertations. Weirdly, he gets very huffy at suggestions that he’s cheapening his own field by helping to staff it with people he knows perfectly well will never be up to the task. And this isn’t even in something skull-crushing like STEM, it’s some sort of archaeology.

God help us!

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