Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Race, Equity, and Opportunity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the United States

Dr Willie Pearson Jr, Dr. Cheryl B. Leggon.

During the past half century, the United States (US) has undergone major economic and demographic transformations. The economic transformation consisted of the shift in the economic base from manufacturing goods to manipulating information. In this "information society" the economy is driven by science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The demographic transformation began during the 1990s when the racial and ethnic composition of the United States population changed significantly so that by 2000 Latinos and African Americans were 12.5 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. Historically the population from which the US drew its science and engineering talent consisted largely of European American males. This paper explores issues of equity, participation and opportunity in STEM fields by focusing on African Americans and Latinos and discusses the implications of these transitions for the US and what works to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.


Dr Willie Pearson Jr  (United States)
Professor and Chair
School of History, Technology and Society
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Cheryl B. Leggon  (United States)
Associate Professor
School of Public Policy, Ivan Allen College
Georgia Institute of Technology

Cheryl B. Leggon earned the doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on underrepresented groups in the science and technology workforce. From 1985-1993, she was a Staff Officer at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. From 1993-2001, she was associate professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University, and from 2000-2002 the Director of Women’s Studies.

  • Race
  • Latinos and African Americans
  • Science and technology
  • Equity and opportunity

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)