What can be done to increase diversity in STEM fields?

To increase diversity and adoption in STEM and STEM fields first and foremost, we have to generate awareness, understanding, and interest of what STEM is all about. We have to make it simple, relatable, and fun. So here are my five suggestions:

  1. Stay away from acronyms because acronyms (like STEM) are not simple and not intuitive. Say science, technology, engineering, and mathematics intermittently and interchangeably with STEM. Make it simple and say it in plain words.
  2. Underscore the common thread among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To me, they are all about patterns and recognizing patterns. Seeing patterns, therefore, becomes the most important skill for humans of all diversities and spectrums to embrace STEM and STEM fields.
  3. Avoid stereotyping. State and show that STEM is for everyone. Be inclusive.
  4. Demonstrate how STEM fields are exciting and impactful to the world and to everyone on Earth. If one has even ridden in a moving vehicle – a bike, a car, a boat, or a rocket – it is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that made it possible. We deal with and benefit from STEM every hour, everyday.

Be a role model, whether you are of a minority or majority profile.

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?

I would classify the change as revolutionary. A few years ago when the movie ”Hidden Figures” came out, I watched it four times within the first 3 months. It was math, along with other elements of S-T-E and human determination that put us on the Moon. Today, technology and science are at the fingertips of all of us, young and old, around the world.

STEM is at the core of everything we do, every day, and every hour. It is in the phones we carry, the cars we drive, or the simple act of telling time or conducting a virtual meeting online. Thanks to STEM and its derivatives, we now live in a world of connectedness and collaboration. It is the engine underneath digital transformation, social commerce, modern medicine, and the rising artificial intelligence field.

As a discipline and an enabler to every aspect of the world we live in, STEM is ubiquitous. It is fundamental for everything, for innovation and growth for the world and for each of us on Earth.