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National STEM Day: Supporting STEM Education in Diverse and Under-Served Communities

2021-11-08  |  4 min read 

Each year we celebrate National STEM Day in the U.S. on November 8. The term "STEM" was coined 20 years ago in 2001 by the U.S. National Science Foundation in response to a concern about students not being sufficiently prepared for the 21st century's high-tech jobs. Fast forward to 2021 and STEM education is being emphasized in schools and universities more than ever before. 

The benefits of a STEM education speak for themselves. STEM careers offer higher starting pay, STEM careers are growing faster than other occupations, and STEM careers can have a big impact on communities. And yet it's an unsustainable fact that minority groups are not equally represented in STEM fields relative to their shares in the U.S. workforce as a whole. 

We know that STEM fields have tremendous potential to address some of the biggest societal challenges, like climate change, hunger, discrimination, pollution, and natural resource conservation, just to name a few. At Keysight we believe one way to harness this potential is by promoting inclusion and diversity within STEM fields. 

One of the ways we are supporting efforts to diversity STEM is through sustained investments in organizations and networks actively engaged in supporting underrepresented minorities pursuing a STEM education. Some of these efforts are Keysight's partnerships with HBCU engineering programs and Rewriting the Code, as well as being a founding corporate sponsor of the Inclusive Engineering Consortium. Keysight also supports and encourages deeper engagements with mentorship programs for young people like SWENext and Black Girls Code to address some of the systemic inequities in STEM education. Mentorship has been shown to play a crucial role for underrepresented STEM students, with many reporting that having a mentor helps them see themselves in the field; Likewise our employees report that mentoring a STEM student can be deeply rewarding. 

Another systemic barrier to STEM education is faced by the educators themselves, who need to create new curricula and content at a quickened pace, with few additional resources. Recognizing this hurdle, Keysight's collaboration with Discovery Education is a public-private partnership that supports K-12 student learning and builds academic confidence. Keysight's drive to strengthen equity and access in education with modern digital resources led to this partnership to provide educators what they need to prepare students for tomorrow. And National STEM Day is all about preparing students for tomorrow!

In reflection for National STEM Day, I encourage you to take a minute to celebrate the accomplishments and potential of the STEM fields to change the world. What has a STEM education done for you?