Hispanics in science and engineering

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Over the last decade, the share of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees for U.S. Hispanic or Latino students grew from 7.2 to 9.9 percent and master’s degrees from 4.1 to 5.9 percent, according to NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Although these numbers are increasing, more needs to be done to ensure a diverse science and engineering community. As President Obama once said “when we study together, we learn together, we work together, and we prosper together.”  Here at NSF, we believe that last point – that inclusion results in prosperity for everyone – is worth particular emphasis. Efforts to broaden participation in science and engineering fields don’t just benefit underserved populations. They create a richer, stronger science community, full of new ideas and fresh perspectives. That’s why we are pleased to be working with a variety of U.S. universities, labs, schools, and other organizations to support these efforts.

Two of our many great examples are the Computing Alliance for Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) and the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GSLSAMP) programs. CAHSI, supported by NSF’s Computer Information Science and Engineering directorate, seeks to increase the number of Hispanic students earning degrees in computer and information science fields.  In 2014, CAHSI was responsible for approximately 10 percent of all Hispanic students in the U.S. graduating with undergraduate degrees in computer science.

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The GSLSAMP program is funded by our Directorate for
Education and Human Resources. It provides opportunities for underrepresented
minority students to complete degrees in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) fields, and has seen an 84 percent increase in Hispanic
students graduating in STEM fields among the institutions in the alliance.

 CAHSI and GSLSAMP were recently recognized by the White
House Initiative for Excellence in Education for Hispanics as a Bright Spot in
Hispanic Education – one of its most prestigious
awards.  Congratulations!

We look forward to more partnerships with universities and research institutions to foster a diverse STEM force. NSF will continue its efforts to broaden participation from underrepresented groups and support diverse institutions throughout the U.S.

Photo credits: The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico and The University of Texas at El Paso