Report Finds Strong Aptitude But Low Interest for STEM Careers Among Black Students

YouScience, a technology provider for solving skill gaps in students and employers, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Black Girls Do STEM, have released the 2024 Black Students and STEM Report, which outlines Black students’ aptitude towards STEM careers compared to their interest in STEM fields.

To conduct their study, the researchers reviewed data from 328,000 Black middle and high school students who had taken a career aptitude test from YouScience between 2019 and 2023. The results were conflicting; despite showing a strong aptitude towards STEM fields, Black students showed little interest in pursuing a career in STEM. The research team believes this disconnect is a result of the current underrepresentation of Black people in STEM, which has created a career exposure gap for Black students. The report defines a career exposure gap as the difference between a student’s aptitudes and interests, which can point towards what careers the student may not be exposed to and what careers may be a good fit for them.

The report analyzed five different STEM fields and found large exposure gaps for Black students among all five categories. The report found a 75 percent exposure gap in advanced manufacturing, 57 percent in health science, 56 percent in finance, 53 percent in architecture and construction, and 51 percent in computers and technology. Additionally, the report found the exposure gaps grew when looking specifically at Black female students. Among Black girls, the study found an 88 percent exposure gap in advanced manufacturing, 73 percent gap in computers and technology, and 72 percent gap in architecture and construction.

“As a Black woman in STEM, I have seen first-hand the lack of representation for women, especially Black women, in these in-demand career fields. However, I have long felt that the solution to this lies within redefining education for Black students through access to identity affirming informal learning environments; so they understand the full scope of their aptitudes, and also the full scope of what careers are possible.” said Cynthia Chapple, founder and chief executive officer of Black Girls Do STEM. “Working with YouScience has confirmed that notion by truly showcasing the possibilities for our students based on their unique, individual aptitudes.”

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