3 Tips for Minorities in STEM: Booz Allen’s Tony Mitchell Talks to Fast Company
Among adults 25 and older employed in STEM jobs, only 9 percent are black and 7 percent Hispanic, according to Pew Research Center. The percentages in engineering are 5 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic1.
Given the current lack of diversity in today’s workplace, how can minority STEM professionals play a role in increasing the ranks of diverse STEM talent?
Seek varied mentors
Other minority STEM professionals will offer valuable insights on navigating challenges like implicit bias, unequal pay, and different cultural values. However, a mentor from a different cultural or economic background can challenge your assumptions and expose you to new concepts.
Keep learning long after getting your degree
A university degree is just the beginning of a STEM professional’s education. Mitchell strongly recommended continuous learning, from employer-sponsored certification programs to independent intellectual curiosity.
“The rate of technological innovation is only increasing, so you must stay relevant,” he said.
Push yourself—especially to give back to others
“When you push yourself beyond what you thought possible, you can achieve more than you ever imagined,” Mitchell said. This is especially true when giving back. Mentor a coworker, coach a high school robotics team, or tutor students, he suggested.
“You have the power to make a significant difference in the lives of individuals and the nation’s growing need for STEM talent,” he said.