Scholars Seek to Determine Why So Few Black Men Pursue Careers in Information Technology

Black men are heavy users of mobile technology but very few Black men pursue careers in the field. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University are investigating factors that propel Black men who do follow a career path in information technology to make that choice.

Dr. Kvasny

Lynette Kvasny, an associate professor of information sciences and technology, and Eileen Trauth, a professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State, received a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a study on why Black men choose to study in the information technology area. The researchers will interview Black men who are studying in IT disciplines at Penn State, Washington State University, and several HBCUs to determine “the experiences that put them on their trajectory towards information technology.”

Dr. Kvasny, who is a graduate of Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees in computer information systems from Georgia State University, states, “There’s so much technology in their world, but why do so few Black men make a connection between being a user of technology and making a career out of it?”

The researchers hope that their study will lead to an online support community for Black men in IT fields. “We’re trying to get Black males to think outside of the norms of what society holds for them,” Dr. Kvasny says.

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  1. I applaud Dr. Kvasny for her work in trying to identify why so few black men pursue IT degrees. I think that you have to put black role models in front of black public school students. Students have to see that there are black professionals in STEM or any other fields.

  2. It seems that one of the reasons is the lack of exposure in the field at an early age. I believe that if Black males are exposed to Information Technology in elementary school they would be apt to choose it as a career. If they are exposed in high school the belief that they cannot succeed in the technologies is established.

  3. As a woman studying in the IT field, I can save you all that money and tell you why in one sentence. The materials selected and provided to the students for study do not encompass a multi-cultural environment. 99% of all materials used to educate students project white males. There’s nothing for the black male to identify with which creates a lack of interest simply because the material is basically stating by use of imagery that IT is for white males only. That was the main cause of complaint at my school.

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