White House Hosts Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence, Launches STEMM Opportunity Alliance
White House Hosts Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence, Launches STEMM Opportunity Alliance

December 2022

On December 12, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) held a White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence, which launched the STEMM Opportunity Alliance. AERA has joined the alliance along with 90 other organizations representing the science, education, technology, business, and other sectors.

As part of the event, the Biden-Harris administration announced its vision for Equity and Excellence in STEMM. The vision includes five action areas that would address barriers to participation in STEMM fields identified by OSTP:

  • Ensure that students, teachers, workers, communities, and others have adequate support to participate in and contribute to science and technology throughout their lifetimes
  • Address the STEMM teacher shortage—which disproportionately harms underrepresented students—by investing in a strong and diverse teacher pipeline
  • Close the funding gap and support researchers and communities who historically have been excluded from access to key resources
  • Scale solutions that root out bias, discrimination, and harassment in the classroom, laboratory, and workplace
  • Promote accountability across the science and technology ecosystem

In opening remarks, officials from OSTP highlighted the need to take action in addressing issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in STEMM, with Deputy Director for Science and Society Alondra Nelson highlighting structural disadvantages and barriers faced by traditionally underrepresented groups in the STEMM workforce and among STEMM teachers. Arati Prabhakar, OSTP director, signaled the demand for a STEMM-capable workforce, including in areas like construction and forestry that are not typically seen as STEMM fields. Prabhakar also detailed that in order to reflect society, there would need to be double the number of women and Black STEMM workers and triple the number of Hispanic STEMM workers.

The summit featured two panels on navigating systemic inequality in STEMM and specific interventions that the federal government, industry, and academia are taking to bolster STEMM equity and excellence. Joaquin Tamayo, chief of staff in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, highlighted the recently launched initiative—“You Belong in STEM”—and the focus that the department is taking to leverage evidence on belonging to encourage the development of joyful STEMM learning and building the STEM educator pipeline.

The newly launched STEMM Opportunity Alliance includes more than 90 partners that have the collective goal of addressing issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in STEMM. Alliance members are committed to developing and advancing a national strategy for achieving shared goals for equity in STEMM by 2050.

“We commend the Biden-Harris administration and OSTP for launching this important initiative,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “There have been longstanding structural barriers to participation in STEM education and the workforce. We look forward to furthering our commitment to overcoming these barriers through our involvement in the STEMM Opportunity Alliance.”