55+ Free STEM Educational Resources & Opportunities for Women and Minority Groups
The world of STEM, meaning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is an incredible hub of innovation, driving advancement in the technologies that impact all facets of our daily lives. However, like many other fields, women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people with disabilities are seriously underrepresented in STEM education and careers. In order to make sense of this disparity, here are some startling facts:
- In 2017, women made up 47% of the workforce, but only held 24% of STEM jobs.
- Black people make up 11% of the workforce, but only 9% of STEM employees.
- Latinx folks comprise 16% of the workforce, but a mere 7% of STEM workers.
- As of 2015, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives made up just 0.2% of the STEM workforce.
- 7% fewer LGBTQ folks were retained in STEM degree programs than their straight counterparts over the course of a college career
Folks who are multiply disadvantaged, such as women of color, people of color with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ people of color, experience the effects of discrimination and bias even more than the statistics here show.
STEM careers can be very well-paying, and employment in these fields is expected to increase dramatically in the upcoming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 13 percent growth in computer occupations by 2026, resulting in over half a million new jobs in that field alone.
Through scholarships, education, active recruiting, and networking events and conferences, many groups and organizations are working to bridge the diversity gap in STEM fields to make these lucrative careers more accessible to minorities. In order to make this programming available to people of all backgrounds, many of these same organizations offer their services for free.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide with over 55 free resources for women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people with disabilities to access STEM education and careers.
STEM resources for kids
- Alaskan Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP). ANSEP is based in Alaska and offers STEM training and resources for Alaskan Natives from middle school through high school. They host after-school programs and summer intensive that include STEM education and college preparedness work, plus offer mentoring and guidance to graduates who pursue STEM education at the undergraduate level.
- Black Girls Code. This program is for black girls from sixth to 12th grade. They have events at different US locations, including hackathons where students can learn the basics of building an app and then develop an original app in teams to compete against each other. Events cost $35, however scholarships are available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
- Everybody Code Now. Everybody Code Now is a nationwide effort that’s working to empower the next generation of leaders in tech. They offer a program called CS Chicas where high school girls are trained to mentor middle school girls in computer science.
- Generación STEM. This online web series, in Spanish, highlights Latinx kids working on STEM-related projects. They’ve also got career resources that explain what type of field students might go into if they pursue education in a STEM discipline.
- Girls in Technology. A branch of Women In Technology, this DC-area program offers workshops and mentorship opportunities for girls in sixth through 12th grade.
- Girls Who Code. A nationwide network of clubs and programs, Girls Who Code teaches girls from third through 12th grade how to code. They offer free project-based summer immersion programs with top tech companies for students across the country. Stipends are available to cover travel and living expenses. Check here for a club near you.
- Latino STEM Alliance. This Boston-area program partners with community groups, businesses, and universities to provide free STEM education and programming for Latinx kids ages K-12. They place a particular emphasis on teaching robotics through school curriculum and their Summer Robotics Camp.
- National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). NGCP connects and offers small grants to organizations across the country promoting greater participation of girls in STEM fields. They have webinars where you can see the work of different NGCP programs, plus a directory where you can find programs near you.
- Native American Science and Engineering Program (NASEP). Offered by the University of Arizona, this free year-long program teaches Indigenous American high school students about STEM topics through classes and hands-on research projects. They’ve got a useful listing of internships and scholarships, and alums are encouraged to stay in touch for career and development help.
- SciGirls. In addition to being a PBS television show and an online guide with videos and educational materials, SciGirls is a national outreach program that helps local organizations develop educational programs in STEM for girls and young women. Their Latina SciGirls resources are specifically dedicated to encouraging young Latinx women and girls to participate in STEM.
- Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). SHPE has chapters throughout the country and offers hands-on STEM workshops at colleges and museums, school groups for students, and a pre-college advising program for high school students. Check here for their Scholarship opportunities.
- STEM Mio. Created by the University of Arizona and funded by the National Science Foundation, this online game and community forum aims to empower Latinx students and their families to learn more about STEM and to pursue college and career pathways in STEM fields.
- Summer Engineering Experience For Kids (SEEK). Presented by the National Society for Black Engineers, SEEK is a free three-week summer program for black kids in third through fifth grade. It takes place in 16 locations across the US.
- Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH). Taking place in California, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, SMASH offers free summer intensives, internship opportunities, and college advising for underrepresented minorities in STEM and first-generation college students. They’re currently launching an online pilot program of their summer intensive so more students can access their services virtually.
- TechBridge Girls. Available in the Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, and Washington, D.C., TechBridge is a series of after school and mentoring programs that help girls in low-income communities learn STEM skills. Check out this list of Family Resources for ideas to encourage your children to get interested in STEM.
- TechGirlz. TechGirlz offers free workshops for middle school girls at locations across the US, and has a goal of teaching 20,000 girls by 2020. They also have an annual summer camp which is not free, but there are scholarships available.
STEM resources & opportunities for women
- Anita B. Anita B is a social enterprise and non-profit dedicated to helping women succeed in STEM. They have chapters globally that host free events and workshops.
- B-Stem Project. B-Stem empowers girls and young women ages 8-25 to enter into STEM, business, and other professional fields. You can become a member for free on their website which lets you access online resources and attend local events in your area.
- ChickTech. This organization hosts after-school programs and offers mentoring for high school girls in both urban and rural areas. They also have chapters in various locations around the US where professional women in tech can meet and network with one another. Check out their Jobs board if you’re looking for work!
- CodeChix. With programs in the Bay Area, Seattle, and Madison/Milwaukee, CodeChix aims to train, recruit, and retain women engineers. They offer tech talks, workshops, and hacking sessions. Only some of their events are free, but you can find a listing here.
- Fab Fems. Fab Fems is a free directory where women in STEM careers can offer their time to mentor young women who are interested in pursuing work or education in STEM. They have an advanced search available where you can look by field of employment, location, ethnicity, and a number of other factors to find your perfect role model.
- Girl Develop It. Started in New York in 2010, this program now exists with chapters across the US. Each individual chapter hosts its own events, so check for programs in your area here. They also have useful free online materials to help you learn coding basics.
- Girls In Tech. This popular program has locations throughout the country and offers programming for women and girls of all ages. They have mentorship programs for students, bootcamps, hacking events, and conferences, many of which are free.
- RailGirls. RailGirls is an international community and forum specifically dedicated to helping women learn and thrive with Ruby on Rails. You can access their free online resources here and check here for their events.
- Scientista Foundation. The Scientista Foundation was started with the mission of empowering pre-professional women to overcome the “leaky pipeline,” a common phenomenon of women disproportionately dropping out of STEM education at all levels. They have chapters at many major universities, intern opportunities, a blog with resources on their site, and their Born Seekers fellowship which provides four $20,000 scholarships to women in STEM each year.
- She’s Coding. This site offers a listing of accessible coding programs for girls and women, plus a mentorship program to help women and minorities advance in education and careers in STEM fields.
- STEM Success for Women Telesummit. This free telesummit features 15 leading industry experts discussing strategies for increasing recruitment of women in STEM fields. You can still register to get free access to recordings of this year’s conference.
- Women of Color STEM Conference. This event takes place in Detroit, MI, and although the main conference is not free, you can get into the job fair at no cost.
- Women In Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). A non-profit organization that offers networking opportunities for women in engineering as well as free webinars, a job listing, and a special Women in STEM Knowledge Center with additional resources.
- Women Who Code. Women Who Code offers tons of resources for women to learn programming and development including free tutorials, videos, and articles on coding, leadership opportunities, a job board, scholarships, and access to a global community of women in tech.
STEM resources & opportunities for people of color
- American Physical Society (APS). APS is the national organization for physicists in the US which has created a number of programs to promote inclusivity in physics, particularly for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous folks. Their Bridge program encourages underrepresented people of color to pursue doctorate degrees in physics, and they also have a mentorship program.
- Diversity in STEAM Magazine. Part online blog, part online resource for STEM and arts students and professionals, this magazine aims to highlight and promote diversity in STEAM fields. Check out their blog articles for inspiration, or hit up their events, education, and job listings for useful resources.
- Hack the Hood. This program in the Bay Area and Northern California has bootcamps and after school programs to help youth of color ages 16-20 learn programming by building websites for local businesses. Admitted students to their bootcamp receive a $600 stipend, a laptop, web design and professional skills training, and access to a Success Coach and Job Developer upon graduation.
- Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA). MESA has programming in 11 states, all of which aim to encourage diversity in STEM fields. They have K-12 programs in schools including MESA periods in high schools and middle schools, day-long academies, and study skills training including SAT and PSAT prep courses. They also have development and mentoring for community college and undergraduate students.
- National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). NACME supports underrepresented folks pursuing engineering, specifically Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people. They partner with colleges, corporations, and other institutions to offer scholarships and resources to NACME scholars. You can also check out their Career Center for job listings and other career resources.
- Venture Scholar. This scholarship program helps to fund college expenses for underrepresented minority and first-generation students pursuing study in science and math. Check out their Resource Center for tons of useful information on preparing for school and career development.
STEM opportunities for black students and professionals
- Blacks in Technology. This tech-focused media organization and community forum offers job listings, events, and community conversations for black people involved in tech fields. They have an extensive list of career opportunities as well as online forum where people can discuss topics relevant to black professionals in technology.
- Black Men Code. Black Men Code is a non-profit that offers free and low-cost computer programming training, team-based events, and bootcamps to encourage black men to pursue education in STEM fields and develop new technologies through entrepreneurship. Their programs are available in Atlanta, GA.
- Black Women In STEM. Although their website is forthcoming, Black Women In STEM has an active social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and can connect black women professionals in the field of STEM with one another. Sign up for their mailing list to get updates.
- National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). Black students and professionals in chemistry and chemical engineering can join local chapters of this organization, find job listings and career resources, and apply for scholarships to attend their national conference.
- US Black Engineer. This site is focused on uplifting the achievements of black engineers and encouraging black folks to enter STEM fields. On the site, you’ll find blogs with useful career information, a series of helpful podcasts, and a section devoted to black women in STEM fields.
STEM resources for Latinx students and professionals
- Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). HHF offers two programs to encourage participation of Latinx kids and young professionals in STEM fields. Their STEM symposia are free and offer education and network opportunities as well as career guidance for students and young professionals. They also have a Code As Second Language (CSL) program that offers computer programming and development training to kids K-12 as well as coding summits, internships, and fellowships.
- Latinas in STEM. Based in California, this organization offers support for Latinx women and girls in STEM fields including summer and afterschool programming for students K-12, mentoring and advising for college students, and professional development for adults.
- SHPE. In addition to their programming for kids and teens, SHPE has programming for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for professional development. Websites for these programs are forthcoming. Be sure to check out their Career Center for more useful information on finding work in a STEM field.
STEM opportunities for Indigenous American students and professionals
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society. This professional association for Indigenous scientists and engineers offers free programming for high school and college students as well as professionals. They host workshops and competitions for younger students, offer scholarships, internships, and conferences for college students, and have a mentorship program and summits for professionals.
- RISE at North Arizona University. Funded by a $2.6 million grant from the NIH, NAU will provide two years of research training in STEM fields to undergraduates and graduate students of Native American descent. Through projects that work on local tribal lands and among indigenous communities, students will be set on a path towards pursuing a PhD track in a STEM field.
- Society for Advancing Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). SACNAS provides career and development resources for Latinx and Indigenous people pursuing education and careers in science. They have a job board and career center online, host national conferences and events through local chapters, and have a special mentoring program for Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields.
STEM opportunities for LGBTQIA+ students and professionals
- Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship. This scholarship for LGBTQ women and gender non-conforming people will cover up to half of your tuition at one of their partner coding bootcamps and programs. Scholarship recipients also receive mentoring and online resources to connect with other queer women in tech.
- LGBT Stem Day. A new annual event, folks can use #LGBTSTEMDay to find and promote events dedicated to recruiting, training, and building community among LGBTQIA+ folks in STEM fields.
- Out In Tech. Out In Tech connects LGBTQIA+ career professionals in tech fields. They host talks and events, have an online job listing, and encourage LGBTQIA+ youth to enter STEM fields through their mentorship program and their free nine-week Explorer program in NYC which offers queer and trans youth ages 15 and older professional development training in tech.
- Queer Coders. A free online community forum and networking site for LGBTQIA+ folks who are in coding and development to connect with one another and look for jobs.
- National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Professionals (NOGLSP). This organization’s objective is to empower LGBTQIA+ individuals in STEM fields and positions. They do this through mentoring programs, workshops, meetings, education, and scholarships. Check out their Career resources if you’re on the job hunt.
STEM resources for students and professionals with disabilities
- Access to Design Professionals. Offered by the Institute for Human Centered Design, this program offers e-mentoring by design professionals for students and entry-level designers with disabilities in order to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in design professions.
- AccessSTEM. This program is presented by the University of Washington and works with schools and corporations to help them recruit and support more people with disabilities. They also have a program for Seattle-area folks called AccessSTEM Team which offers mentoring, internships, and interactive learning experiences for folks with disabilities.
- Entry Point! Developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Entry Point! connects undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities with internships and co-op opportunities at STEM organizations. Internships last for ten weeks during the summers and are granted to 20 to 25 participants.
Innovation is at its best when people from a diversity of different backgrounds have the opportunity to invent, research, and create. These free resources are a great place to start if you’re a woman, person of color, LGBTQIA+ person, or a person with disabilities interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or math.
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