In an article in Issues in Science and Technology, published by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta argues that science and engineering face two mutually reinforcing problems. First, people think that STEM research is disconnected from societal problems in the real world. And, second, these fields struggle to attract and retain diverse students in STEM higher education and careers. She offers compelling evidence showing that solving one challenge can solve the other.
When STEM research tackles real world social justice problems, it generates evidence-based solutions for social issues and inspires and attracts underrepresented students in large numbers. Dasgupta articulates how this approach led her to create the Institute of Diversity Sciences at UMass Amherst. She calls upon fellow universities to unite in a shared national endeavor to propel and amplify this important insight.