Last year, in celebration of Black History Month, the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) Policy hosted its first-ever "edit-a-thon." This event brought together members of the science community in a crowd-sourced sprint to add and expand the online content about African Americans in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This year, we did something a little different; the White House OSTP (@whitehouseostp) tweeted about accomplished African-Americans in STEM.
Role models play an important role in shaping the future aspirations of youth and adults alike—they can help students envision themselves as STEM professionals, enhance perception of STEM careers, and boost confidence in studying STEM subjects. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the contributions of ALL members of the STEM workforce, including African Americans. In this spirit, the White House unveiled the Untold History of Women in Science and Technology site in 2014 where female leaders from across the Administration share stories of their personal STEM "sheroes."
Now, we’d like to continue to elevate and raise the visibility of unsung innovators and leaders in STEM, both past and present. That’s where you – organizations and individuals – come in! We encourage you to host an edit-a-thon sometime this year focused on updating history to reflect the stories of STEM heroes, including those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds like women and racial minorities. In the upcoming weeks, we will share a toolkit with information on how to host an edit-a-thon. Your edit-a-thon can take place on the platform(s) of your choice.
If you’re planning to host an event, tell us about it here no later than March 31, 2016. During your event, be sure to use the hashtag #HeroesInSTEM.
Afua Bruce is Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Council at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.
Knatokie Ford is a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.