Although there is an increasing demand for STEM-related jobs today, there is still a large imbalance of gender and race representation. In 2019 women only accounted for 28 percent of workers in STEM fields, and out of all female doctorate graduates in science and engineering, 86 percent were white or Asian, according to STEM learning academy Built By Me.
To combat these statistics, Diversity in STEM (DISE) became an organization on the UW- Whitewater campus in 2020 dedicated to helping minorities find their place and voice within STEM education. And although it may be difficult for some to get involved in organizations this year due to COVID-19, freshman Erinn Bell decided to try DISE out.
“DISE is important to the campus because it is an open space for minorities who are invested or going into a STEM field,” said Bell. “I joined DISE because after I heard of the program, I knew that it would be a good place for me to fit in. It is nice to have a joined community of STEM majors.”
Bell is a marine biology major with a Spanish minor. She’s excited to already be part of an important organization that provides her both academic and social support.
Chemistry major Michael Hendrix has an emphasis in biochemistry and enjoys his role as secretary of DISE. He hopes to attend gradute school and apply for a Ph.D. program. He aspires to conduct research on HIV/AIDS in search of treatments, medications and maybe even a cure for patients.
“DISE provides that safe space where people can come to us and talk about their concerns, allowing us to help them excel and succeed in their academic careers. We are here to give you the resources you need in order to succeed,” said Hendrix.