#ShutDownSTEM: Connecting Race and Policing to STEM Inequities

A seminar presented by Odis Johnson, hosted by the McKelvey School of Engineering

On June 10, researchers around the world observed the call to #ShutDownSTEM in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and efforts to end the systemic racism that ended the lives of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. One might ask, “what does racism in policing have to do with STEM and its quest to diversify?” This presentation answers this question by revealing how the criminalization of students of color within elementary and secondary schools negatively impacts their math scores, likelihood of dropping out, and college entry. These observations are supported by the examination of multiple national longitudinal databases using machine learning estimated propensity score matching techniques to strengthen our inferences, and multilevel statistical modeling to estimate school and individual level population parameters. The presentation concludes with a discussion of how recognizing and mitigating systemic racism is essential to the development of a healthy and robust STEM workforce.