America needs to draw on all its talent, especially a growing population of minority students who continue to be under-represented in STEM fields.
—RUBÉN HINOJOSA, U.S. Representative from Texas
In the two and a half years since the release of this report, we still have not taken up the key steps that are needed to meet the intent of [its] goals. After a surprising amount of positive public attention and a lot of work by a lot of people, we are not moving to where we need to go, and there is no imminent momentum to change this direction. The world is running away from us.
—C.D. MOTE, JR., President of the University of Maryland
We may have the greatest higher education system in the world — and the statistics tend to bear that out — but we also know that we’re part of the problem at higher education institutions. We’re discouraging too many students from getting STEM degrees. There’s too high a dropout level from the enthusiastic freshman entrants who want to major in STEM to the number who graduate with STEM degrees.
—WILLIAM BONVILLIAN, Director of the MIT Washington Office
Rep. Hinojosa described the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) program at the University of Texas-Pan American. HESTEC has become a model program for promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers among predominantly Hispanic students in South Texas. In the seven years since HESTEC was founded, the engineering school at UTPA has grown from 100 students to 1,200, Hinojosa said. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act includes a program called Youth Engagement in STEM Partnerships that is designed to replicate the success of HESTEC at minority-serving institutions across the country. The America COMPETES Act also emphasizes increasing the numbers of minorities and women in STEM fields and expanding minority-serving institutions’ participation in education, research, and development.