Expert: Increased Diversity in STEM Education Will Benefit U.S.

President Obama announced more than $240 million in pledges to boost diversity in the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Barack Obama announced at the White House Science Fair Monday more than $240 million in pledges from the private sector to boost diversity in the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. In a tweet sent Monday morning, Obama told the assembled students science is for everyone.

Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz, the associate director of the Texas Tech University STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education (STEM-CORE) and a professor of diversity studies, has researched the effects learning English as a second language has on students' abilities to learn other complex subjects, including STEM subjects. As part of STEM-CORE, she works with other faculty members at Texas Tech to integrate STEM into their curricula.

Expert
Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz, associate director of the Texas Tech University STEM Center for Outreach, Research & Education and associate professor of bilingual education and diversity studies, (806) 834-4949 or z.aguirre@ttu.edu

Talking Points
• Texas Tech researchers have aggressively sought and received several grants with a STEM focus, including adding engineering literacy to early childhood education.
• Researchers also look for unique ways to introduce STEM into curriculum, including Texas Tech's LAZARUS Project – the Lab for the Analysis of Zombie Activity and Research into Undead Simulations.
• Increased funding means increased opportunities to solicit and obtain funding for outreach and research such as the Texas Tech/Lubbock Independent School District STEM Challenge, in which students from low-income schools can participate in activities designed to inspire them to solve problems in ways that enables them to deepen their STEM content understanding.

Quotes
• "This announcement affirms the importance of the commitment to diversity in STEM education, which will be the source of hope globally for needed innovations to solve difficult problems."
• "There is a growing consensus that increasing diversity in STEM is the way to maintain our nation's stronghold in providing the research that serves as the catalyst to these innovations."
• "It starts with increasing the ability of all students to approach the world like a scientist, mathematician or engineer so they can gain the capacity to change the world."

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