From 1996 to 2016, the number of Hispanic students enrolled in schools, colleges and universities in the United States doubled from 8.8 million to 17.9 million. Hispanic students now make up 22.7 percent of all people enrolled in American school.1 And according to data from the Higher Education Research Institute, only about 8-10 percent of STEM degrees and certificates went to Hispanic students.2
As a chemistry professor and a science outreach educator for over 20 years I have witnessed a disconnect between Latino students and science education due to the underrepresentation of the very much present scientists with Hispanic or Latin American roots. many Latino students not feeling much of a connection to learning the science we teach in America. Therefore, my goal is to make science education more inclusive. So much of the science we teach focuses on European contributions. Students open up textbooks and read about famous European scientists and scientific discoveries… but rarely of Latin American scientist/discoveries. The development of civilized Latin America began with the Mesoamericans including the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas. There was much evolution of science from the incredible intelligence and ingenuity of the Mesoamericans. It is my hope to bring their works into the science education. I am hoping to bring connections to Latino/Latina/Latinx students, so they can see science did also evolve from their ancestors. I do believe this will bring more Latino students to consider science as a possible education and career choice.