How IEEE supports STEM Programs and Diversity in Engineering,
by Christine Cherevko

It is anticipated that 80% of future professions will require STEM expertise, and that millions of students in under-resourced communities will  lack the opportunities necessary to prepare for careers in these fields. Furthermore, women and ethnic minorities only represent 25% of the current STEM workforce.

While the lack of minority representation cannot be attributed to a single cause, providing early access to STEM education can help expand the diversity of the talent pool.  In a 2011 article, National Institutes of Health (NIH) leaders discussed that “the long reach of earlier educational experiences in kindergarten through grade 12 and college training…the variability in access to mentoring and other resources” may play a role in why grant applicants who self-identified as  black or African American were 10% less likely to receive NIH funding than white applicants even after controlling for factors such as education, country of origin, previous research awards, etc.[1]

IEEE, along with Cricket Media, created TryEngineering Together in response to the urgent need to inspire and educate the future STEM workforce.  This eMentoring program matches employee volunteers with 3rd to 5th grade students from under-resourced schools. eMentors spend an average of two to three hours per month corresponding with their students through the TryEngineering Together online platform. This powerful one-to-one relationship allows students to ask questions about their mentor’s experiences as well as discuss articles and STEM activities that are completed in the classroom.  

If you or your company are interested in learning more about how IEEE uses eMentoring to support STEM education, please feel free to contact Christine Cherevko from IEEE Educational Activities:  or Watch this free webinar on eMentoring on demand via this link: eMentoring Webinar by IEEE.