Native American (American Indian and Alaska Natives) scholarships help to support the most underrepresented group in engineering. Native Americans constitute 0.7 percent of the overall population, and 0.9 percent of both school-aged (nine-to-17-year-old) and college-aged (18-to-24-year- old) individuals, yet only account for 0.4 percent of all engineering bachelor’s degrees earned in the U.S. Native Americans are also the most underrepresented group in the engineering workforce, as they comprise only 0.2 percent of engineering faculty and 0.3 percent of employed engineers. To address this issue, NACME had awarded 726 scholarships to Native Americans since our founding in 1974. One NACME Native American scholarship recipient was Sandra Begay-Campbell, now Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM. To read more about her click here.
Unfortunately, Native Americans face great challenges in the classroom. Native Americans students are 117 percent more likely to drop out of school than their White peers, and only seven of 100 Native American kindergarten students will eventually earn a bachelor’s degree, compared with 34 of every 100 White kindergarten students. In kindergarten, Native American students score significantly lower, on average, on their reading and mathematics scale scores than their White and Asian peers.
While nearly 75 percent of all U.S. public school students graduated from high school with a regular diploma in the class of 2010, only 51.1 percent of Native American students earned their diploma, which was the lowest percentage for any group. Though the total number of engineering bachelor’s degrees earned by Native Americans has increased since 1977, the first year that data is available in the National Science Foundation’s WebCASPAR database (from 135 to 309) 4, the percentage of engineering bachelor’s degrees earned by this group has remained flat (0.3 to 0.4 percent).
Funding is needed to support initiatives that help to close the achievement gap for Native American students. Scholarships help Native Americans as they face unique challenges as the most underrepresented group in education. Contributions to NACME to fund our scholarship programs help all underrepresented minority groups, including Native Americans, and help NACME achieve its vision of an engineering workforce that looks like America.
Mulligan, G.M., Hastedt, S., and McCarroll, J.C. (2012). First-Time Kindergartners in 2010-11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2012-049). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 06-11-14 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.
EPE Research Center, 2013.
4 NACME analysis of Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) accessed via National Science Foundation’s WebCASPAR database system, June, 2014.