The number of black women in science and technology is larger than one might think, but still too small. The women featured in this gallery use their science, math and engineering degrees in sectors ranging from academia to finance to satellite research.
The theme of empowerment permeated the “Job Creation and Education: Programmatic Efforts to Increase Broadband Adoption in African American Communities” panel held at the 2012 National Urban League Annual Conference.
“I say without hesitation today, that broadband is the great equalizer,” said Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who keynoted the panel.
Clyburn, along with Minority Media and Telecommunications Council President David Honig, Comcast Corporation’s Community Investment Vice President and Foundation President Charisse Lillie, National Urban League Research and Policy Director Madura Wijewardena, and AT&T Legislative Affairs Chief Cleo Washington, spoke of the myriad ways that broadband is transforming society and providing educational and economic empowerment for Black Americans.
The panelists also discussed how lack of access can hold communities back.
“It is imperative that we get everyone connected,” Clyburn said. “Digital exclusion will further prevent our brothers and sisters, especially those in challenged communities, from truly participating in the very basic facets of today’s society.”
The panelists underscored that Internet was essential to living a meaningful life in the 21st century. Honig illustrated four main advantages of adopting broadband – having greater access to healthcare (through tele-health technologies), education, job opportunities, and civic engagement.
African-Americans and other minority groups who have a disproportionate number of people classified as poor, already have a tough time getting their children into higher education. Now a days those who are even middle class may have a tough time getting paying for college tuition. The continued inflation of the cost of education is becoming unsurmountable and, In my opinion, will again be a tool that causes an even wider divide between the haves and the have nots.
Let’s now consider the rising trend of colleges and Universities charging more for Majors such as Computer Science, Engineering, Business, etc. The practice is very unsettling to me and leads my mind to question whether or not this will add an extra layer of discouragement to families of color that may not be able to afford the extra cost of the price tag?
There are already numerous discussions happening among those in the tech industry that recognize part of the problem surrounding diversity in technology, is filling the pipeline of minorities attaining these degrees and having successful STEM careers. How are these rising tuition costs by major and/or degree going to further impact that pipeline?
My thoughts on it wander to the possible scenario of a a student who has her heart set on being an Engineer, but her parents cant afford to pay that extra $3,000 per semester for her major, thus she settles for being a degree in Africana Studies. No offense to those who major in liberal arts, but I have seen students who settled for and switched into liberal arts majors in lieu of STEM or Business degrees, who now cant find a job over $11.00/hour, if they even have a job at all.
This bothers me. I feel like the message that it sends will signal to students that only people who can afford to attain a potentially high income earning degree, deserve to have that opportunity, even if you have already beaten the statistics that say you are not likely to get an education beyond high school, and actually made it to college! Is it me or is this country systematically continuing to impart policies that make it tougher and tougher to achieve upward mobility between the classes?
In my opinion, this is another victory for the elite and a detriment to working and middle class families.
What do you think?
Check out the video below from a school administrator speaking on her institutions tuition hike by major.
It’s my goal to provide a fresh perspective on trends, politics, and innovation in technology from a socio-economic lens while hopefully providing empowerment and awareness for more Women of Color in tech or those working towards a career in tech.