Equity in STEM
“Equity" is the first pillar of Nevada’s State Strategic Plan. Our goal is to increase interest, awareness, participation, and outcomes of underrepresented students in STEM. Examples of underrepresented students include women, members of racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with low socioeconomic status. To that end, OSIT has both called out equity as a core priority and integrated equity strategies into all of its programs. Below are some of OSIT’s equity-related initiatives.
Increase the recruitment, retention, and completion rates for underrepresented students in postsecondary STEM programs
STEM Workforce Equity Grants- OSIT has partnered with the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) on a four-year project that funds the development of new programs and the integration of existing programs to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of underrepresented students in in-demand STEM degree and certificate programs.
Align State STEM education with national equity best practices
Intermountain STEM Network/NSF Includes Grant- OSIT joined a consortium of 6 western states to successfully apply for a grant from the National Science Foundation to increase equity and broaden participation in STEM by underrepresented groups. The six states are working with NAPE to develop and scale best practices throughout the region. OSIT will work with NAPE to identify and develop pilot sites in Nevada that can later be scaled throughout the State.
STEM Equity Program Evaluation Rubric
This rubric is designed to help program administrators, designers, implementers and funders identify the critical attributes of a STEM program to determine the degree to which it is inclusive and supports access and success for students who historically have not engaged in STEM. Serving “all students” does not ensure equity, so considering how each of these attributes impacts underrepresented students in STEM and addressing those barriers will create a STEM learning environment where every student can succeed.
“This rubric was created after a lengthy examination of the research and best practices around increasing equity in STEM education and following a thorough review of practitioners and experts from around the nation. In Nevada, broadening participation in STEM is one of our four priorities. We believe this rubric has significant value to help our teachers, school administrators, and informal educators come to know the key attributes of an equitable STEM education and to conduct a self-evaluation to identify opportunities for growth. Additionally, as our office works with aspiring STEM schools, we plan to use this rubric to better communicate the principles of broadening participation in STEM.”
~Brian Mitchell, Director, Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology
Integrate computational thinking universally across all grade levels for all students
Computer Science Collaborative- OSIT and the STEM Advisory Council’s Computer Science subcommittee collaborated with the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) to apply for funding from the National Science Foundation to fund the development of K-12 computer science standards and a statewide computer science summit to train teachers and administrators in the new standards. OSIT and NDE will continue to collaborate with outside partners from Code.org, the College Board, and the Regional professional Development Programs to provide training in computer science to teachers.
Partnerships that promote equity
GirlsGoCyberstart- OSIT has a partnership with the SANS Institute to offer a cybersecurity competition exclusively for high school girls in Nevada.
OSIT launched a Spanish-language STEM outreach campaign to inspire young Latinos to study STEM and educate their families about the opportunities a STEM education provides. The campaign focuses on understanding what STEM is and highlighting the careers of successful Latinos in STEM. Messages include: This is what STEM looks like and Descubre la educación STEM.
The Nevada STEM Student Voices Project
The STEM Student Voices Project highlights the stories of underrepresented students in STEM so that students that follow in their footsteps know there are others like them who have struggled, persisted, and succeeded in STEM. Below are some of their stories. Click here to add your voice.