News & Events

David Asai, Ph.D.

Posted on September 15, 2023


Date - September 15, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Senior Director
Center for the Advancement of Science Leadership and Culture
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Title Talk: “Race Matters”


More than half of all the students entering college intending to study STEM do not graduate with a STEM degree.  The STEM completion gap is highly racialized.  Compared to whites and Asians, persons who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Latine (“PEERs”) are only half as likely to complete the STEM bachelor’s degree (Asai, 2020).  In studies that compare students with similar pre-college preparation—e.g., high school math and science, families that value higher education, family income, and standardized test scores—PEERs complete the STEM degree at a significantly lower rate than non-PEERs (e.g., Riegle-Crumb et al., 2019; Hatfield et al., 2022).  Most alarming, the racialized STEM completion gap has not changed in at least 30 years.  It is time to shift our mindset from “fixing the students” to a focus on creating a more inclusive learning environment centered on equity (NASEM, 2023).  Equity begets Inclusion begets lasting Diversity.  We need to build ratchets for equity in science education (Baldomero Olivera)—creating systems in which we can only move forward and not slide backwards.  Ratchets for equity include learning the skills of equity and re-imagining the introductory science experience.