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Notre Dame Director to Address Lack of Diversity in STEM Fields on Jan. 30 at MCC

Dr. Michael Kilburn will discuss an ongoing challenge facing the science, technology, engineering and math fields with his talk “Why STEM (Still) Lacks Diversity” on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Muskegon Community College.

Part of the MCC 2019-20 Lecture Series, the talk is free and open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. in Stevenson Center Room 1300.

Kilburn, who directs Outreach and Education at the University of Notre Dame’s Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE), admits that efforts to change demographics in physics have only had minor effects during recent decades.

He will share his analysis of JINA-CEE outreach programs to provide insight into how gender and race affect the likelihood of K-12 students to pursue careers in science. His data includes teacher recommendations for its high school summer program, as well as surveys of students’ attitudes towards science.

“Current research across STEM fields will also be presented as we explore reasons for the lack of diversity at all academic levels,” said Kilburn. “Data will be viewed through a sociological framework, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, to uncover hidden barriers that dissuade underrepresented minorities from becoming physicists, and reveal techniques to minimize these barriers for a more innovative research environment.”

“I greatly value the importance of diversity in all fields of study and look forward to learning more from Dr. Kilburn,” noted Amber Kumpf, a MCC geology instructor and member of the college’s Math and Physical Science faculty. “I love our MCC speaker series. It is a great opportunity for students to hear experts speak on specialized topics.”

For more information on the lecture, contact Andy Wible at (231) 777-0626.

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