The Color Of Science

Susan M. Reiss

Although the number of science and engineering (S&E) degrees earned by underrepresented minorities—African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans—continues to slowly increase, their numbers are still small. According to the National Science Foundation, the number of S&E doctorates awarded to these minorities in 1990 was 831—just 6% of all S&E doctorates. In 1980, 559, or 4% of all S&E doctorates were earned by minorities. Of 63,087 engineering degrees granted in 1991-92, 7.4% went to African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians. The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) contends that two-thirds of freshmen enrolling in engineering programs never complete their programs and half of those students drop out of college altogether.

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