NACME in the News

Minority Report: How Are Non-White Workers Faring In Westchester?

Minority Report: How Are Non-White Workers Faring In Westchester?

What is it like to be a minority in Westchester's business community?


Troubling Statistics for African Americans in STEM Careers

If you were to walk into any technology-driven enterprise in Westchester back in the 1970s, you would be hard-pressed to find one person of color among the ranks of engineers. That’s because minorities in the field of engineering were nearly nonexistent in Westchester 40 years ago—or anywhere in the US, according to Irving Pressley McPhail, EdD, of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) in White Plains. As NACME’s CEO, McPhail is focused on increasing the number of statistically underrepresented minority students earning degrees in engineering (minority students defined as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Native Americans/Alaskans; interestingly, Asian Americans are not considered an underrepresented minority in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields). NACME does this by providing scholarship money to a network of elite universities that then recruit, enroll, retain, educate, and graduate these students.

In 2013, the number of minorities entering the workforce with engineering credentials was an estimated 13.4 percent, according to McPhail. In spite of these gains, McPhail is concerned. “The problem is that underrepresented minority students make up a much larger percent of total population than 13.4 percent,” he says.
Perhaps of even greater concern is the fact that African Americans are not keeping pace with other minority groups with respect to gains in engineering. In 2013, 9 percent of the total number of engineering degrees awarded to minorities went to Hispanic students, while 3.2 percent went to African Americans and 1.2 to Native Americans and Native Alaskans.  
As an African American himself, McPhail says, “I believe there is a real crisis in the African-American community across the board…and in what’s happening in our schools. There are far too few of our young people who understand engineering and how exciting STEM careers are... We have to stay focused on this issue; if we don’t, we [the global technology-driven firms] run the risk of losing our competitive edge in STEM.”

Hispanic Businesses Becoming More Mainstream

Fannie Aleman, president of the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in White Plains, says there’s a major cultural change happening within Westchester’s Hispanic business community. “We are evolving, remaining true to our roots, while still becoming part of mainstream America—breaking free of traditional thinking and becoming more strategic,” she says.

Aleman also explains that the strong growth in Hispanic and Latino businesses in Westchester can be attributed, in part, to these business owners making a shift into less-traditional business arenas. “Today, more Hispanic business owners are looking to open a business in high-growth industries and where they can fill a market need,” she explains. In another break from tradition, she notes, “We are pushing to have more women break into industries like STEM and construction that were traditionally dominated by men.”
Aleman suggests that the biggest challenges facing Hispanic and Latino business owners in Westchester are not actually unique to Latino-owned businesses. “The biggest challenges are associated with licensing and regulations because many small business owners don’t have the time to navigate confusing websites, paperwork, et cetera. But I think this is true for all small business owners—not just Latinos and not just minorities,” she says. Read more.


Dr. McPhail on ABC News' Here and Now

Click image to see video

ABC News HereAndNow

Here's how P&G plans to get more underrepresented minorities into STEM jobs

Here's how P&G plans to get more underrepresented minorities into STEM jobs

Jun 4, 2015, 10:08am EDT UPDATED: Jun 5, 2015, 6:17am EDT
Courier Intern- Cincinnati Business Courier

Procter & Gamble Co. is bringing the underrepresentation of minorities in high-tech industries to the forefront of a national conversation.

The Cincinnati-based consumer goods manufacturer (NYSE: PG) and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) partnered to host a panel discussion on strategies to combat the underrepresentation of certain minority groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields on Wednesday.

The discussion, held at P&G’s downtown headquarters, featured a panel of seven experts, two of them current or former P&G leaders, as well as keynote speaker and NACME president Dr. Irving McPhail.

The conversation focused on a big problem facing corporate America: In a competitive global market where technology and innovation are key, the demand for STEM jobs is steadily rising, but supply is not keeping up. America needs students to choose STEM careers, and there is much untapped talent among black, Native American and Latino students who often do not have equal access to STEM-promoting programs.

For P&G, recruiting a skilled and diverse workforce is paramount. P&G senior vice president of research and design William Gipson said in addition being a world leader in marketing and production, the company is a leader in innovation.

“The reason we innovate is the breadth of the backgrounds of the scientists and engineers we work with,” Gipson said.

This commitment to diversity is not reflected in the makeup of STEM jobs nationwide. Ninety percent of engineering positions in 2014 were held by white workers, according to McPhail.

P&G vice president of research and design Lourdes Albacarys said although P&G aims to hire a workforce that is representative of a diverse consumer base, the number of black and Hispanic graduates for hire gets smaller every year.

Meanwhile, STEM positions in the region are growing at twice the rate of other positions. Eighty percent of the region's jobs in the next 10 years will require math and science skills.

To combat this problem, P&G invests in initiatives like the company’s Resident Scholar program that familiarize students with STEM career options and connect them with mentors.

“The more we can demystify these careers for the students, the more powerful that connection (to STEM) is,” said Dr. Andrea Bowens-Jones, director of the Resident Scholar program and P&G research and design section head.

Albacarys encouraged parents to get involved as well by enouraging their children to choose STEM-based electives instead of arts electives like choir.

“If we don’t encourage them, they may choose the easier option and never see how much fun (STEM education) can be,” she said.

Panelist Robert Setlock took a slightly different approach. Setlock is the director of Miami University’s Project High Flight, a program that allows students of diverse backgrounds to come together and think creatively about scientific problems.

“I think the real problem is that divergent thinking is not really appreciated or valued,” he said. “The creative aspect of the human soul is what drives everything. If you try too hard to conform to any system, that’s going to compromise your soul.”


STEM Leadership Forum Event aims to attract minorities to STEM jobs

Event aims to attract minorities to STEM jobs

 Fatima Hussein  Cincinnati Enquirer, 4:25 p.m. EDT June 3, 2015

Building a broader base of creative and innovative engineers is crucial to maintaining a competitive workforce in today's global economy.

And that will be a challenge when 90 percent of the state's engineers are Caucasian and largely male, said Irving Pressley McPhail, president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, a nonprofit organization designed to increase awareness of engineering careers for minority students.

McPhail's White Plains, New York-based organization visited the Greater Cincinnati region and made a stop at Procter & Gamble's headquarters Downtown Wednesday to explain the importance of attracting minority students to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, careers.

Ohio STEM careers are expected to grow by 153,000 jobs by 2018.

"By 2050, there will no longer be a majority race in the nation," McPhail said. "Currently there is relatively low representation in the field for minorities, which can be traced to elementary and middle-school preparation."

The event at P&G was attended by roughly 200 area high school students and business leaders interested in diversifying their workforce.

"NACME has been focused like a laser on increasing numbers of underrepresented minorities in STEM," McPhail said, adding that, on average, black Ohioan students score lower on the SAT and ACT than the state and national average.

"And there is much work to do," he said.

P&G executives in attendance emphasized the importance of having a diverse workforce in maintaining their global competitiveness.

"The reason is why our brand does so well is because our products serve our consumers in a way that shows P&G understands their customer," said William Gipson, chief diversity office and senior vice president for research and development in Asia. "Our workforce needs to reflect the identity of our customers."

He added, "The business of innovation is all about solving problems. We fundamentally believe a diverse workforce does a better job of solving those problems."

Others talked about how to bring more minorities into STEM careers.

"The more we can demystify these careers, the more we'll see them (minority students) attracted to these jobs," said Denise Casey, executive director of Minorities in Mathematics, Science & Engineering.

Lourdes Albacarys, P&G's vice president of research and development, said parents need to get their children involved in science and technology when they're young.

"There are so many programs in Cincinnati for students, like the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative, that encourage students to get involved in STEM," Albacarys said. "You have to get them involved early."



Diversifying the Field of Engineering


Diversifying the Field of Engineering

An answer to Silicon Valley's race problem

(Image: Ed Eckstein)

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering—better known as NACME—may hold a key to one of Silicon Valley’s most highly publicized and seemingly intractable problems: its pervasive lack of diversity. The nonprofit, founded 41 years ago as a scholarship organization, is partnering with Hewlett-Packard to set aside funds for minority students who study computer science or software engineering.

Working with Silicon Valley is just one of NACME’s recent developments. Led by Irving Pressley McPhail, Ph.D., NACME also recently won its first National Science Foundation grant. The organization is the largest private provider of scholarship support to underrepresented groups—African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans—in engineering education. Since its founding, NACME has provided $142 million in scholarships to 24,000 students of color. And NACME scholars outperform their peers: They have a 79% six-year retention rate to a degree (and a GPA of 3.233). Engineering students in general have a six-year retention rate of 62%; minority engineering students that are not in NACME have a retention rate of 39%.

[Related: The Case for Coding in School Curriculum]

Engineering is a critical field that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will enjoy robust job growth. According to a 2012 post on, of the 15 most valuable college majors in terms of pay and job opportunity through 2020, engineering majors make up one third. The No. 1 major? Biomedical engineering; software, environmental, civil , and petroleum engineering majors were all in the top nine.

Yet African Americans make up only 3.6% of the engineering workforce and 2.6% of engineering faculty, despite constituting 14.8% of the U.S. college-aged population.

To accomplish its mission of diversifying the field of engineering, NACME employs a four-pronged strategy: pre-engineering, research and program evaluation, and engineering public policy, in addition to scholarship support.

NACME recognizes that developing the strong math and critical thinking skills that engineering requires has to start early. The organization has developed a set of materials that introduce middle school students to engineering—that explain what engineering is and why it’s exciting, asking, Have you ever wanted to build a mobile phone or design a high-tech car? The materials explain that, if you have, engineering may be the career for you. They also point out the courses that should be taken and focus on parents, kids, and middle school guidance counselors.

At the high school level, NACME has partnered with two other renowned national organizations: the National Academy Foundation and Project Lead The Way. “We’re involved in an important initiative designed to open academies of engineering across the nation,” says McPhail, president and CEO of NACME since 2009.

Community College students

McPhail, who previously led two large community colleges: Community College of Baltimore County, as chancellor; and St. Louis Community College, as president, says, “I have a strong commitment to the community college. We’re using the 51 universities in our partner network and seeking to leverage support for community college transfers.” Noting that community colleges are feeder schools to certain engineering programs, he says, “We want to incentivize that effort by setting aside a percentage of our scholarships for students who transfer from community college.”

Regarding NACME’s public policy strategy, McPhail says ,“We try to take our message to Washington, to make certain when the Congress and others debate issues of U.S. competitiveness that there’s a clear recognition that America can never reach and maintain its cutting-edge posture in STEM unless there is a concerted effort to bring more underrepresented minorities” into the field.

Software engineering

In spite of the glamour and ubiquity of technology, only a minority of NACME scholars major in computer science and software engineering. “In our most recent annual report you’ll see that about 3% of our NACME scholars are majoring in computer science or information systems technology; 11% are in computer engineering,” McPhail notes.

Yet, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, 50% of STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science related fields. So NACME is partnering with Hewlett-Packard to build a pipeline for underrepresented groups in computer science.

“Hewlett-Packard, a longtime member of the NACME board—David Packard was an original co-founder of NACME—is walking with us in a project called Go West,” says McPhail, “an initiative led by Hewlett-Packard designed to get NACME in front of Silicon Valley, which had recently been trying to hire minority workers. NACME can be a solution to their conundrum. Led by executives at Hewlett-Packard and others with my own internal NACME staff,” Go West has the goal of getting NACME to increase its financial support for underrepresented minority students who major in computer science, software engineering, and computer engineering, McPhail says.

For more information about NACME, to download its materials for middle school and high school students, or to access its extensive research briefs, go to


NACME President and CEO to Address Class of 2015 at NJIT's 99th Commencement

Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NACME President and CEO Irving Pressley McPhail to Address Class of 2015 at NJIT's 99th Commencement


NJIT will confer honorary degrees upon Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D. and Charles Elachi, Ph.D. at the 99th Commencement exercises Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Charles Elachi, Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to Receive an Honorary Doctor of Science

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will confer honorary degrees upon two distinguished individuals at the 99th Commencement exercises Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Charles Elachi, Ph.D, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a vice president at California Institute of Technology, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. 

Dr. McPhail was named the sixth president and chief executive officer of NACME on September 1, 2009. He joined NACME in 2007 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Prior to joining NACME, Dr. McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He served 15 years as a college president or chancellor at The Community College of Baltimore County, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and LeMoyne-Owen College. Dr. McPhail also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools. He is the co-editor of “Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices,” published by the International Reading Association in 2005, and the author of more than 50 journal articles, chapters, monographs, and technical reports. He earned a bachelor’s degree in development sociology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in reading from the Harvard Graduate School of Education., and a doctorate in reading/language arts from the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow.

Dr. Elachi has been the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since May 2001. Prior to becoming director, he was JPL’s director for Space and Earth Science Programs beginning in 1982, where he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics. He has been a principal investigator on a number of NASA-sponsored studies and flight projects including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series, the Magellan Imaging Radar, and the Cassini Titan Radar. Dr. Elachi is the author of over 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and he holds several patents in those fields. He received his B.Sc. (1968) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. (1968) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble, and both a M.Sc. (1969) and Ph.D. (1971) degree in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He also has a M.Sc. (1983) degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (1979) from the University of Southern California. 

For more information on NJIT’s 99th Commencement, visit the Commencement

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to

NACME CEO to Speak at Engineering Commencement


NACME CEO to Speak at Engineering Commencement

Irving Pressley McPhail, president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc., is the 2015 commencement speaker for the College of Engineering.

Engineering commencement for the class of 2015 will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 9, in Barnhill Arena on the University of Arkansas campus.

Irving Pressley McPhail, president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc.


McPhail was named the sixth president and CEO of NACME in 2009, after joining the council in 2007 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Under McPhail's presidency, NACME received the 2012 Claire Felbinger Award for Diversity from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Prior to joining NACME, McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He served 15 years as a college president or chancellor at The Community College of Baltimore County, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and LeMoyne-Owen College. McPhail also served as chief operating officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools. Under his leadership, The Community College of Baltimore County was named one of 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges in the U.S. and Canada in 2000 by the League for Innovation in the Community College, won the Bellwether Award in the category of Planning, Finance and Governance in 2000 and was awarded the PBS O'Banion Prize for Leading the Way to Change in Teaching and Learning in 2003.

McPhail has held tenured full professorships at three colleges and universities and served as an affiliate or visiting professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Pennsylvania, and Morgan State University. He is the co-editor of "Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices," published by the International Reading Association in 2005 and the author of more than 50 journal articles, chapters, monographs, and technical reports.

McPhail serves on the board of directors of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation, the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America, and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

McPhail earned a bachelor's degree in development sociology at Cornell University and a master's degree in reading at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned a doctorate in reading and language arts at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2010.

Find additional information about the College of Engineering commencement.

NACME works to enlist more Latino, African American and American Indian men and women into the engineering field

April 10, 2015

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) works to enlist more Latino, African American, and American Indian women and men into the engineering field

Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, the President & CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc, Inc. (NACME), recently visited the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR) to meet with engineering students receiving scholarships and mentoring support through NACME. The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico is a NACME partner organization.

Seaman Anthony Rossiter

  Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail (center left), President & CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), meets with Ernesto Va’zquez-Barquet (center right), President of The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, along with students and faculty during a recent visit to the college.


Since its inception in 1974, NACME has provided $142 million in scholarships and support to 24,000 Latino, African American and American Indian engineering students.  As graduation season approaches, students and parents of the class of 2015 (High School and College) will be thinking about their career prospects. Forbes Magazine recently compiled a list of “The Most Valuable College Majors” based on starting salary, mid-career salary and long term career prospects. 

Of the 15 “Most Valuable Majors” 5 are in the engineering field. This is just one of the reasons the organization is working to introduce more Latinos to this field. 

An equally important part of NACME's effort is to get students at the middle and high school levels interested in careers in engineering. They have created a range of materials for students, including “Engineer Something Amazing!,” to be distributed in the schools. The materials are available in Spanish and English.

Obtain information about the exciting things you can do as an engineer at



We need more STEM experts in Massachusetts classrooms: Guest viewpoint

February 13, 2015Summer Camps-STEM

This undated photo provided by Destination Science shows, teacher Suman VonWolzogen, second left, and young campers "Observing Sublimation" at Destination Science Camp in Fullerton, Calif. STEM summer camps, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, are more popular and plentiful than ever. (AP Photo/Destination Science, Jon C. Haverstick)

By Erin Dukeshire

In early September, my sixth grade students gathered together to watch, wide-eyed, as I used a hair dryer to float a Ping-Pong ball in mid-air. Shouts of "Can I try that?" quickly made way to more sophisticated questioning, with students wondering what would happen if they changed the temperature of the hair dryer's air, or whether they could float the ball using their own breath. This lesson is among my favorite of the year because it provides my first glimpse at the science skills students bring to our class.

The lesson also gives me a sense of our work for the year. The vague language in the first week's observations will be replaced by scientific vocabulary, and students will learn to clarify and investigate their questions about the floating ball. Then in June, I'll cross my fingers, hoping that these thoughtful, inquisitive students will have the opportunity to engage in great science classes for each of the six years remaining before high school graduation.

In Massachusetts, where science and technology innovations contribute greatly to our economy, identity, and pride, improving educational opportunities in these fields seems especially important. While recent National Assessment of Educational Progressresults show our students to be among the top performers in the country, only 42% of Massachusetts eighth graders scored proficient on the 2014 Science MCAS. The remaining 61% of students were unable to correctly answer two thirds of the test questions. Though a test is just one measure of science achievement, proficiency on that test is one of the prerequisites for success in high school science. We're lucky to have excellent teachers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) content expertise in Massachusetts classrooms inspiring the next generation of biologists and computer scientists. However, we need many more to ensure that all kids across the Commonwealth have access to the excellent STEM education that will get them on track to choose science careers.

One of the most important steps we can take to strengthen STEM education is to invest in our teachers. This year, a partnership between Teach For America-Massachusetts and the Biogen Idec Foundation will focus on the recruitment, training, and support new STEM teachers across Massachusetts. I'm excited about the partnership because I believe that Teach For America's model of recruiting a diverse group of teachers - many who majored in STEM fields in college or who have had professional STEM experience - draws STEM subject matter experts into classrooms.

To boost the number of people with STEM expertise choosing to teach, it's critical that we show our undergraduate science majors that teaching is a meaningful, impactful, and valued career pathway that offers endless challenges and rewards as they utilize their specialized training and breadth of knowledge every day. I've seen that my biology studies in college have informed my teaching every day, from weighing the importance of concepts when time runs short to designing engaging lessons around scientific practices like collaboration and observation. Undergraduate studies in STEM are not the only components of an effective science teacher, and not all effective science teachers formally studied STEM, but it's a valuable resource here in Massachusetts we must tap.

Because teacher shortages in STEM subjects are more likely to impact low-income communities of color, increasing our STEM teaching ranks is another necessary step to improving representation of low-income and minority students in advanced studies and careers in science. Too often, low-income students, students of color, and English Language Learners, like my students, have inequitable access to STEM opportunities.

In turn, limited access to higher level coursework contributes to a lack of diversity in STEM careers.The American Physical Societyreported that less than 10% of physics degrees were awarded to students of color in 2012. According to a NACME study, only 3% of engineers identify as African American. These numbers are even harder to digest when I experience my students' enthusiasm for science, only to think of how that may fade if it is not nurtured. Educators with demonstrated experience and passion for STEM learning can continue to foster the same excitement in our students, and give them the opportunity to become the next generation of STEM leaders in Massachusetts.

During a MassBio Candidate Forum this fall, Governor Charlie Baker said we need to ask the people who are "really good at doing STEM education" to help others understand how to expand great STEM education to every child. Let's take it one step further and recruit and train more of those experts to lead our science classrooms. No student deserves to be shut out of a career in our thriving STEM economy because we offer them inadequate preparation during their pre-K-12 years. And with the inclusion of a more diverse group of thinkers engaged in science and technology careers, innovation in Massachusetts is bound to thrive.

Erin Dukeshire teaches sixth grade science at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury. An alumna of Teach For America, Erin became a teacher after studying biology at Bowdoin College, and after years of watching her parents teach in public schools in Agawam, Ludlow, and for the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative. She is a 2012 Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.


Ranking Member Johnson Introduces STEM Opportunities Act


January 22,2015
Today Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R. 467, the STEM Opportunities Act of 2015. The legislation is similar to legislation she has introduced several Congresses in a row, including H.R. 1358 in the 113th Congress.
Ms. Johnson said, "The evidence keeps mounting that it is critical to our Nation's economic leadership and global competitiveness that we educate and train more scientists and engineers. A wave of retirements is about to hit many of our industries and government agencies that employ scientists and engineers, and we are likely to face acute shortages in certain sectors in particular. In the meantime, research shows that women and underrepresented minorities, who by 2050 will comprise more than 50 percent of our population, are disproportionately lost at every transition point in their STEM studies and research careers. Despite years of talking about such disparities and even taking steps in an effort to address them, underrepresentation of women and minorities remains high in most STEM fields. As a Nation, we cannot afford to continue hemorrhaging so much talent."
H.R. 467 would require federal agencies that fund scientific research to collect more comprehensive demographic data on the recipients of federal research awards and on STEM faculty at U.S. universities (while protecting individuals' privacy); promote data-driven research on the participation and trajectories of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM so that policy makers can design more effective policies and practices to reduce barriers;  develop, through the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), consistent federal policies for recipients of federal research awards who have caregiving responsibilities, including care for a newborn or newly adopted child, and consistent federal guidance to grant reviewers and program officers on best practices to minimize the effects of implicit bias in the review of federal research grants; require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and disseminate guidance to universities to aid them in identifying any cultural and institutional barriers limiting the recruitment, retention, and achievement of women and minorities in research careers and developing and implementing current best practices for reducing such barriers; require OSTP to develop and issue similar guidance to all federal laboratories; and authorize NSF to award grants to universities to implement or expand research-based practices targeted specifically to increasing the recruitment and retention of minority students and faculty.
Ms. Johnson said of the legislation, "In developing this legislation, we solicited extensive input from governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to ensure that the guidance and requirements reflect today's needs and opportunities. The result is a bill that attempts to systematically address the full suite of issues facing both female and minority STEM researchers, from work-life balance policies, to campus climate, to better data collection, to recruitment and retention practices. The bill includes not just researchers at universities but also researchers at our federal laboratories. Finally, the bill includes research components to increase our understanding of the career trajectories of women and minorities in STEM research careers."
In 2014, Ms. Johnson also joined Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in asking the GAO to review the current state of demographic data collection and policies to promote inclusion at a number of federal science agencies. That study is currently underway and should be completed in 2015.
Ms. Johnson continued, "The GAO study will give us a much better starting point from which to identify and address unjustified disparities in data collection and inclusion policies across our federal agencies. Based on what we've heard so far, I expect the final report will unambiguously reinforce the need for this legislation. I hope we can make this a bipartisan bill and move it through this Congress. Making sure we are engaging all of the talent of this country in STEM degrees and careers should not be a partisan issue."
Original cosponsors include Katherine Clark (D-MA); Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Mark Takano (D-CA); Marc Veasey (D-TX); Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA); Mike Honda (D-CA); Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Louise Slaughter (D-NY); Danny Davis (D-IL); Donna Edwards (D-MD); and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). The bill is also been endorsed by several organizations:
"In order for the US to remain a leader in the STEM fields, it is crucial to fully engage the entire STEM talent pool and make sure that everyone, regardless of gender or ethnicity, is able to fully participate at all levels," said Karen Horting, CEO of the Society of Women Engineers. "We must embrace and encourage all women and underrepresented minorities who have a passion for these fields and do what we can to support them, remove obstacles and maximize their contributions to the nations STEM needs. H.R. 467 offers crucial provisions towards this end by supporting research on the participation of women, increasing awareness of implicit bias, promoting best practices and encouraging accountability through data collection."
American Society of Mechanical Engineers President J. Robert Sims said, "By improving the participation of women and other underrepresented groups in the STEM workforce, the U.S. can leverage the diversity of these individuals to fuel the innovation necessary for our global competitiveness, as well as meet the challenges of a changing world."
"My organizationNational Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) recently celebrated four decades of progress in leading the national effort to increase the representation of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino women and men in engineering education and careers," said Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, President and CEO of NACME. "Since 1977, the percentage of all engineering degrees earned by underrepresented minorities has dramatically increased from 5.7% to 13.4%. Yet, this metric pales in comparison to the growing percentage of underrepresented minorities in the U.S. population. Much work remains to realize NACME's vision of an engineering workforce that looks like America. This is why NACME salutes Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson for the introduction of the STEM Opportunities Act of 2015. This Bill must get the attention and support of the Congress and the Administration if our great nation is to retain its preeminence in innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship in STEM." 

Moving Minorities Into Engineering Through Education

December 22, 2014

Listen to Dr. McPhail's interview on EduTalkRadio"Moving Minorities into Engineering Through Education"


Television Interview: Dr. McPhail on the state of STEM education

November 20, 2014

White Plains Youth Bureau DADS Program


National Group Honors UTEP President with Diversity Award

Highlights commitment to "access and excellence"

by Press Release // October 24, 2014 // Press Releases

National group honors UTEP president with diversity award

(Photo of Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, President and Chief Executive Officer, NACME; UTEP President Diana Natalicio; and Mark E. Russell, Vice President, Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance, Raytheon Company and NACME Board Chairman courtesy of NACME via UTEP Public Affairs)

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) honored University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio with its Diversity Vision Award during the group’s 40th Anniversary Awards Dinner and Celebration at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

The Diversity Vision Award is presented to an individual who sets a personal example that inspires minority youth to create a high standard for their educational and professional goals and who believes that the American Dream is a dream that should not be encumbered by boundaries of race or gender.

President Natalicio has spent much of her professional career empowering students, especially underrepresented minorities, to believe in themselves and their aspirations. In her 26 years as president ofUTEP, she has helped create an “access and excellence” model that promotes affordability without sacrificing a competitive, high quality education. She has worked tirelessly to create an educational experience filled with opportunities for undergraduate research and the promise of social mobility for the University’s more than 23,000 students, many who are first-generation college students who come from families of modest means.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering with its 2014 Diversity Vision Award,” President Natalicio said. “This award strongly validates UTEP’s access and excellence mission and our vision to become the first national research university serving a 21st student demographic. Our success has enabled UTEP to emerge as a model public research university and contribute to a new U.S. higher education narrative.”

Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., NACME president and chief executive officer, said he was “blown away” to find so many UTEP students, staff, faculty members and community leaders who shared President Natalicio’s values during a visit to the institution.

“My dear friend and colleague, Diana, has perfected the paradigm for the 21st century, urban, regional research university,” McPhail said. “The commitment to diversity with equity in the largely Latino community is palpable, and the outcomes of the university in terms of teaching, research and community empowerment are enviable.”

The black tie event brings together more than 500 leaders from industry, academia, government, foundations and other organizations from around the country to honor individuals who contribute to NACME’s mission and raises funds for NACME’s scholarship programs that benefit Latino, American Indian and African-American engineering students.

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Experts: Minority Talent Available for Silicon Valley

October 20, 2014

by Ronald Roach

UNCF officials and HBCU presidents visit Silicon Valley during HBCU Innovation Summit in 2013.

UNCF officials and HBCU presidents visit Silicon Valley during HBCU Innovation Summit in 2013.

With Silicon Valley firms under scrutiny as recent employment disclosures show little racial and gender diversity at top firms, a new analysis finds that the nation’s leading research universities produce African-American and Latino graduates with computer science or computer engineering degrees at twice the rate leading companies hire them.

The finding, documented in an analysis conducted by the USA Today newspaper, reveals that on average seven leading Silicon Valley firms had just 2 percent Black and 3 percent Latino employees in technology jobs. In contrast, 4.5 percent of new graduates with bachelor’s degrees in computer science or computer engineering from 179 research universities were Black, and 6.5 percent were Hispanic, according to Computing Research Association (CRA) data.

As for the total base of U.S. computer science programs, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that Blacks and Latinos comprise a total of 18 percent of 2012 computer science graduates, the USA Today analysis says. USA Today’s research includes employment statistics from Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo and computing education data from the CRA’s annual Taulbee Survey.

While technology firms have typically placed blame on a talent pipeline that executives say produces too few Black and Latino applicants for highly-sought Silicon Valley jobs, educators are pointing to the new analysis as evidence that firms are failing to cast a wide enough net to reel in existing talent.

“What you have is that these companies recruit from the same places all the time. And those places coincidentally don’t have high numbers of minorities,” says Dr. Juan Gilbert, the Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair in the University of Florida’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering department.

“If you keep doing that and say ‘we can’t find qualified people,’” then that becomes reality for the companies that are recruiting talent, adds Gilbert, who is a nationally-recognized scholar in the recruitment and mentorship of African-American computer science Ph.D.s.

Dr. Stuart Zweben, a professor of computer science and engineering at The Ohio State University and co-author of the Taulbee Survey, says that, while the minority computing field graduate numbers are low, there remains a gap that institutions and companies can explore and determine what exactly is happening to those graduates.

“Most of the [Black and Latino] students with bachelor’s degrees are going right out into the workforce and not going on to graduate education, at least at the doctoral-granting schools,” Zweben said.

Dr. William McHenry, executive director of the Mississippi e-Center at Jackson State University, believes that Silicon Valley firms need help from government programs, such as the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and organizations such as the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc. (NACME), to tap into the talent pool of underrepresented minorities.

McHenry explained that such programs and organizations have established over decades an infrastructure of faculty members and academic administrators who have become adept at nurturing and developing minority talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Those same programs and organizations have developed longstanding relationships with companies, such as Fortune 500 firms, but less so with Silicon Valley companies.

“The National Science Foundation through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation makes it very easy for companies to find Hispanic Americans, African-Americans, or American Indians. They produce large numbers of individuals in the STEM fields and many of the large companies are employing these individuals,” he said. “I think those organizations have been a doing a great job because without them I suspect we would not have even the percentages that’s noted in the analysis.”

Dr. Karl Reid, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers, says it’s critical that Silicon Valley companies include minority-serving institutions among the pool of schools at which they recruit underrepresented minorities for jobs.

“A disproportionate [high] number of African-Americans, for example, who graduate with STEM degrees attend HBCUs. If there is not a foot in the door for HBCUs at these institutions in decision-making roles it’s very difficult for the recruiters to really have the contacts, have the deep relationships, [and] have the access to HBCUs,” he said.

Dr. Irving McPhail, the NACME president and chief executive officer, describes the recent disclosures by Google and other companies of their low numbers of Black and Latino technology employees as a significant opportunity for the organization that just last week celebrated its 40th anniversary. NACME, which has raised millions in scholarship funds for minority engineering students, is working closely with the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Corporation to expand the scholarships and internship programs targeted at computer science and computer engineering students. Currently, 10 percent of NACME scholarships go to computer science, computer engineering, and information science students.

As a longtime company board member of NACME, Hewlett-Packard has led efforts to help the organization establish a strong presence within the Silicon Valley community. McPhail says there will be an intentional effort to link scholarship funding with internships designed to help NACME students gain eventual full-time employment with Silicon Valley companies.

“We have a great opportunity to steer our scholarship efforts toward a model that emphasizes employment opportunities in Silicon Valley. This will be a new focus for NACME, but we don’t intend to dilute our work with students in the traditional engineering disciplines,” he said.


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