Hispanics and STEM Careers

Here are two (here and here) inspiring articles regarding  Hispanics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers. Collectively known as STEM careers, they are a significant issue in the study of Hispanic student retention and persistence.  Historically, Hispanics and other minorities have been disproportionately under-represented in STEM disciplines. As of 2000, the ratio of STEM degrees earned by Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans was only 2.5 per 100 24-year olds (National Science Board, 2004).  These realities present a landscape where academic and career opportunities are unevenly distributed.

Some have suggested that minority students simply are not interested in pursuing degrees in these fields. However, a meta-analysis of 16 research studies representing over 19,000 individuals found no statistical differences in aspirations or interests by racial group. Interestingly, there were statistically significant differences by race in perceived barriers and perceived opportunities. Minorities reported more perceived career barriers and anticipated fewer career opportunities in contrast to white individuals. These findings suggest that most people have the same aspirations but differ in their expectations for realizing their aspirations (Fouad & Byars-Winston, 2005).

Although progress is slow in changing this trend, there are still examples of committed and talented Hispanics achieving professional success in pursuit of these careers.