Yoo Jung Kim, Andrew H. Zureick and Yoo Eun Kim’s article on diversity in STEM for The Mercury News argues that the under representation of people of color and genders in research programs can limit findings. An example is a 2014 article published in Scientific American on primatology studies.
As the article explains, "early in the history of the field, men studied primate behavior from the angle of males competing with one another for females, thereby relegating female primates to a passive role. However, according to anthropologist Sarah Hrdy, as women entered the discipline, they were more predisposed to pay attention when female primates dominated males or solicited sex from males outside of their group, while male researchers disregarded those observations as outliers. Women contributed new findings to their discipline by discovering that female primates had a more active role in their reproductive strategies than previously thought.“
Having a different perspective on a research topic is key to better results. Whether through a diversity of ethnicity, gender, or simply thought, a multitude of experiences and views are needed to correctly diagnose observations. Unfortunately, today, about 10% of the STEM workforce identifies as black, Latino, or Native American. To coincide with this, black, Latino, and Native American high students routinely enter college with less experience in STEM fields than their white counterparts. It’s hard to have a knowledgeable opinion on something you do not know a lot about.
Improving education for blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans, is crucial for a more well rounded researching core. As those groups increase in population, to keep America strong in the STEM fields, they will need to be better educated for the job market of tomorrow.