Why Representation Matters.

It is a well-known issue that those of us in STEM-related fields have known for decades. There is a major disparity in the representation of minorities, specifically black men and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Systemic racism and discrimination creates inequity for many different groups and is especially evident in STEM-related degree programs and careers for black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). For years, the underserved and underrepresented BIPOC masses have been denied access to education and career opportunities that would help improve the diversity in STEM. It is indisputable that innovations from science, technology, engineering, and math fields have positively impacted the lives of nearly every aspect of human life. Many of these innovations were the ideas of black men and women who had to fight for the opportunity to pursue their education or forgo that education but still contributed to the societies, communities, and world that actively denies them the equity that every human being deserves.

But why are diversity and representation important in STEM?

  • The world needs diversity in science and engineering because diversity leads to better problem-solving, expands the talent pool, and is important for long-term economic growth
     

  • Science, technology, and engineering are solving the world's problems, and our communities benefit when the teams working on those problems have a diverse cultural and socioeconomic background
     

  • Without representation, it is far less likely for a BIPOC student to see themselves as a scientist, a technologist, and engineer, or a mathematician. A recent study shows that having just one black teacher not only lowers high school dropout rates for black students but also increases their desire to go to college and can make them more likely to enroll in college.
     

  • Technology is the fastest growing industry with the highest amount of open jobs which could add hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy
     

So what is MDC Iowa doing about this problem and how can you help?

The Multicultural Development Center of Iowa was formed for the sole purpose of addressing the lack of diversity in STEM as well as solving the lack of diversity and representation of BIPOC teachers in the public school system.

  1. Lack of access to STEM-related training and continued education

    • MDC Iowa provides a wide-range of FREE training classes that cover the full spectrum of STEM. While many organizations (for-profit and nonprofit)​ tend to focus on programming/coding and robotics and are only offered periodically, but MDC Iowa provides year-round classes on topics like:

      • Python Programming

      • Intro to AI

      • IoT Design and Build

      • Cybersecurity

      • Computer networking

      • Cloud

      • 3D design and printing

      • Electronics

      • Reverse Engineering

      • Obtainium

      • Javascript Programming

      • Blockchain

      • Data Analytics

      • Soldering

      • And many more

  2. Representation

    • All classes have a BIPOC teacher and/or guest speaker, industry professional or subject matter expert​ that participates in our online or in-person classes

  3. Economic Support and Growth

    • MDC Iowa helps underrepresented and underserved people gain skills in STEM-related areas that will improve their future, their confidence, and vie them the power to create what they want to see in the world. Whether you are a 10-year old dreaming of being an engineer, or an adult learner that is underemployed or unemployed, you can gain real-world skills that can help create new opportunities today.​ Our hands-on, project-based learning helps people develop skills that can immediately be applied to career opportunities with our commercial partners. Additionally, our growing network of business professionals helps with mentorships and support in finding new career opportunities.

    • Although there is an increase in underrepresented students enrolling in college the number of students of color that do not graduate has increased over the past decade. MDC Iowa established a scholarship fund as well as a program to assist first-generation students of color to prepare for the transition to higher learning. The combination of these resources helps to preemptively address the primary reasons for non-completion of an undergraduate program by BIPOC students:

      • ​Lack of financial aid/support​​

      • Little/ no support from the academic institution

      • Difficulty transitioning to college

      • A sense of not belonging

      • Noticeable lack of diversity/students of color on campus

Multicultural Development Center of Iowa

136 S Dubuque St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Email: info@mdciowa.org

Phone: 319-333-0600

Non-profit: 501(c)(3) Tax ID: 84-3464327

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