Intel invest $4.5 million in STEM Program for six HBCUs
By Je’Kia Willis
What does STEM stand for?
Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
What is STEM & Why is STEM important?
“STEM is important because it helps our world and the people within it move further into the future. For example, healthcare. Healthcare now is more advanced and helpful than it was 20 years ago with the help of STEM. The advancements in technology have led scientists to be able to pinpoint what gene causes high blood pressure, cholesterol, and so on and so forth. Another example is learning. Children with autism used to be viewed as children with behavioral problems and were prescribed medicines that didn’t help but now you have tests and routines that can help parents figure out how to interact with their child who has autism and how to catch autism early.” – Brittany Lynch, NCCU Alumna NYU Graduate Student
Intel has committed $4.5 million to six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) over the next three years as part of a new grant program that seeks to keep African American students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) pathways in college. Florida A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University and Tuskegee University were selected to participate in the program.
The tech company wants to improve the low representation of African American students in STEM pathways in college — students who are more likely to switch out of STEM majors within the first year of college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). African American students only account for 11 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees, NCES reported.
“Most people know what STEM stands for, but don’t truly understand what it is. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and, in truth, that’s how people see it; it is thought of in only an academic aspect, but when you look at it, and I mean really look at it, it is so much more.
STEM is your healthcare: medical doctors, pharmaceutical doctors, etc… STEM is your cellphones, your car saying that your tire pressure is low, the answer you get from searching Google or asking Siri.
STEM is any object that has to be manufactured, the buildings, roads, and bridges, etc.., STEM is the means for nuclear power/warfare, discovery beyond this planet, STEM is your six-figures, STEM is your city’s development, STEM is your philanthropy; honestly, you’ll have a shorter list defining what STEM isn’t, but that’ll be hard. A lot of people don’t see STEM in these contexts, so we don’t put an emphasis on them, which means we don’t view them as important. If we want to increase minority retention in these fields, then the investment needs to be in the public school system. The students must be prepared for what lies ahead. STEM majors require a solid mathematical foundation, they require a fundamental knowledge of technology, etc… things that are not readily available to the average minority student. Intel’s investment is amazing; it really is, but until we fix this problem from the bottom up, it will continue to be a problem.” – Nathan Harris, UAPB Alumnus Jackson State University Graduate Student
To help improve retention rates, the newly launched Intel HBCU Grant Program will give $3.9 million to the HBCUs to fund two-year scholarships and additional academic opportunities for African American students in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering. The remaining $600,000 will go toward supporting Intel-hosted workshops and activities that bring the HBCUs and tech industry together to help prepare students to enter the tech workforce. The program is part of the company’s Diversity in Technology initiative. Intel kicked off the $300 million initiative in 2015 with a goal to achieve full representation of women and underrepresented minorities at the company by 2020. Full representation, according to a company statement, essentially means Intel’s workforce in the United States will be more nationally representative of the talent available across the country — from entry-level to senior-level leadership positions at Intel.
Last year, Intel was one of the 30-plus companies that signed a White House pledge to increase diversity in tech. Fortune recently reported that more than 80 companies have since joined the pledge and that Intel is one of only 11 companies to deliver on its promise and fully release its diversity data. Keep up the good work Intel!