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WASHINGTON – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) President and Chief Executive Officer, A. Shuanise Washington, will be honored during the “Trailblazers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholarship Dinner and Gala,” hosted by the Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter (NoVAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The gala takes place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia and recognizes community leaders in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area who promote education, health, wealth and STEM education for black youth.
“This award highlights the importance of the work we are doing at CBCF to eliminate disparities in STEM education within the African-American community.” said Washington. “As part of our Leadership Institute for Public Service, CBCF focuses on developing and training the next generation of leaders to compete in a global economy. STEM education is a critical part of that training to ensure our nation’s competitiveness and economic strength.”
STEM education disparities have become a public policy priority since the release of the National Center for Education Statistics’ 2009 report stating that only seven percent of all bachelor’s degrees, four percent of master’s degrees and two percent of Ph.D.s were awarded to members of the black community in STEM fields. The Obama Administration plans to invest $2.9 billion toward STEM education, as indicated in the 2015 budget. These funds will prepare Americans for 21st century jobs. Jobs in STEM fields are expected to increase by 17 percent from 2008-2018.
“As a nation, we must cultivate and nurture interest in STEM education at every level of the educational continuum—from grade school to college and beyond—if we endeavor to bridge gaps in minority employment within STEM careers,” said Washington. “I applaud the efforts of the NoVAC Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for proactively working to develop STEM opportunities that advance the future of America’s STEM workforce.”
Since joining CBCF, Washington has made STEM education a priority for the organization. During CBCF’s 43rd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in 2013, CBCF hosted braintrusts on the topic, such as the “Beacons for the Future: Trailblazers in STEM Education for African Americans” and the “Science and Technology Braintrust,” to present ideas about ways to attract black youth and diversify the future STEM workforce. Washington actively engaged in discussions to address the implications that assist and hinder black involvement in STEM education.
Members of the NoVAC Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will also award the Nellie Brooks Quander and Betty Jones scholarships to two high school seniors with goals of pursuing STEM majors at a two-year or four-year accredited university. The scholarships are funded through the Northern Virginia Delta Education and Community Service (NVDECS) and are named after women who have made significant strides in the Northern Virginia area toward education in STEM fields.