May 23, 2022 | By: Ellen Sherberg | BizWomen Read it >
The impact of the pandemic on education as well as the disproportionate setbacks to underprivileged students have been well-documented. But even before Covid, Jen Colvin was devoted to bringing equity to education, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field is filled with incredible advancements, remarkable creativity and some pretty unbelievable discoveries and creations. But it also has the potential for even greater innovation, and that will result from a more diverse pipeline of STEM professionals.
In my decades of working in STEM, I’ve developed a passion for providing equitable access to industry opportunities and resources to all students. Specifically, I have spent the last 13 years combating the diversity crisis in my time with Learning Undefeated, a nonprofit driving race and gender equity in STEM through experiential and deep-impact learning experiences for students from under-served communities.
The journey toward a solution starts in the K-12 classroom. Supplying adequate materials to students, particularly those in younger grade levels, in under-served areas is crucial for their advancement in STEM; however, as educators, we must take it a step further by providing an inclusive representation of STEM to instill a belief that they can be successful in this field. Representation matters, and if you don’t see yourself in the community, it’s hard to envision a place for yourself in it.
For example, the field has lacked the space and voice of women for decades. In a historically male-dominated field, it is critical to provide a space that demonstrates that women can have a voice with confidence in their careers. Not only do women in STEM uplift the economy on a global scale, but the innovation of the industry depends on their voice.