The College of Engineering and Computing took part in the unveiling of the Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act this week on Capitol Hill. College of Engineering and Computing Dean Amir Mirmiran joined bill sponsors Congresswomen Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX) and Miami’s own Frederica Wilson, corporate leaders and fellow academics at a press conference and dialogue session. The dialogue session was hosted by the National Action Council for Minorities in Education, an FIU partner.
In her opening remarks Wilson highlighted FIU’s success in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) arena, particularly in engineering. FIU is currently one of the top producers of minority STEM degrees and graduates the most number of Hispanics with engineering degrees in the continental United States. Notably, when national trends are showing a decline in African Americans earning engineering degrees, FIU has increased these degrees by more than 65 percent in the last decade.
Mirmiran spoke about the college’s successful strategies at maintaining access, motivating youth through K-12 pathways programs, and broadening university-wide efforts at effecting STEM education rates in South Florida. These efforts incorporate successful reforms in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education. Other examples include modeling instruction, peer-led learning and hands-on engagement with research such as the Department of Energy Fellows program.
The proposed bill calls for the National Science Foundation to invest in grants to institutions with successful strategies to increase minority students and faculty leading to greater diversity in STEM careers. These grants, for faculty, would support more opportunities for professional development, institutional assessments, elimination of subtle biases in search and hire as well as trainings for search committees and administrators. For students, this bill highlights the need for graduate and undergraduate financial support, innovation participation methods and a focus on student retention in STEM programs.
For more information contact the Office of Governmental Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-600-4562. Follow FIU’s efforts in Washington, D.C., on Facebook and Twitter.