Better Math Courses Mean Better STEM Students
Even before the pandemic, improving student engagement in critical “gateway” math/science courses has presented a long-standing challenge, especially in traditionally underserved communities. In this episode of EdTech Today, Aurora Martinez, VP & General Manager of Math and Science Foundations at Wiley, discusses the diversity gap in tech careers and how we can leverage education to help close it.
Aurora addresses the reasons behind the lack of diversity – specifically the lack of women – in STEM fields and outlines what can be done to fix this disparity. Citing new research from Wiley from the Diversity in Tech: 2021 U.S. Report, Aurora calls out the insecurities women experience upon entering STEM fields: to land a tech job or advance in the tech sector, nearly half of women surveyed were concerned about their qualifications; 31% were concerned they are not good enough at math and science; and one-in-three women were worried that they do not have the right educational background.
She emphasizes the importance of educating and encouraging students in math and science at an early age and creating compelling learning experiences, including digital solutions and foundational courses for students that are so engaging, they are inspired to not only continue in that major, but also pursue careers in tech. She also identifies mentorship/role models as a key factor in retaining students in these fields, specifically women and minorities. Aurora notes that the responsibility is on all of us, and our society must be agile and act with a sense of urgency to make a change.
Prior to joining Wiley, Aurora was the COO and Managing Director at Gamelearn–a game-based learning company and the co-founder and CEO of EVERLEARNING. She spent the majority of her career in executive leadership positions for two of the world’s largest education technology and services companies, McGraw-Hill and Pearson Education, and also spent several years with Curriculum Associates where she learned about entrepreneurship and how to grow a start-up—skills that she was able to apply at Trinity Education as Senior Vice President.
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