Motivating African American Students in STEM Fields


Earlier this month Dr. Fred Bonner II brought together a group of 18 undergraduate male students from colleges across the state to enhance their potential of finding success in STEM-related fields. The STEM Collegiate African American Male Summit was developed by the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Chair in Education at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), Dr. Fred Bonner II, to enhance the potential of underrepresented minorities studying in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The two-day summit recognized achievements of students currently in STEM fields and created networking opportunities across schools and environments. The program was supported by the GSE’s Goal Advancement Program, which funds programs through grants that advance the school’s goals.

“Promoting achievement in underrepresented and marginalized students is extremely important to me and the GSE,” said Dr. Bonner. “Through this program, students have been given various tools for success. I am confident they will utilize these tools to prosper in their respective fields.”

During the summit the men focused on factors of success including preparation for STEM work force, mentoring and faculty role models, socialization in STEM disciplines, developing learning communities, utilizing viable support programs, and addressing non-cognitive variables such as fear of failure, institutional environment, classism, and racism. These success factors will help them commit to and stay with their STEM related disciplines not only for achievement, but also future success and further degree advancement. 

The summit was designed to help the students navigate effectively through and encourage the completion of STEM degrees and careers as well as the pursuit of graduate education. The two-day itinerary included icebreakers, networking opportunities, video discussion, and several prominent speakers: Dr. Tommy Stevenson, Dr. Alonzo Flowers, Mr. Dallas Grundy, Ms. Patricia Williamson, Mr. Chancelor Wyatt, Dr. Tommy Curry, Dr. Petra Robinson, and Dr. Fred Bonner. They covered topics pertaining to the steps to success, getting a job, dream realization, and the social realities of being a minority in today’s society.


To learn more about the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Chair in Education and Dr. Fred Bonner II click here.