About this event
The National Academies will offer a presentation on a new initiative: The Action Collaborative on Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech. This effort will bring together more than 35 organizations across higher education, national labs, and government agencies to work toward targeted, collective action, guided by an intersectional approach. Sponsoring members of the Action Collaborative will work over the next 4-years to transform pathways in tech education and careers with the aim of ensuring sustained resources and opportunities for women who identify as African American, Black, Hispanic, Latina, American Indian, Asian American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander. This Action Collaborative is guided by the expert findings and recommendations put forth by the 2022 National Academies consensus report Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech.
The presentation will:
- Offer an overview of the key takeaways from the 2022 Consensus Report
- Explain the NASEM Action Collaborative model
- Share the goals, mission, and structure of the Action Collaborative on Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech
- Explore opportunities for the Action Collaborative to support the mission of NSF
Background: The demand for professionals in tech continues to grow and will substantially continue to do so over the next decade. Despite years of efforts to increase diversity in tech, women of color remain underrepresented. Many years of research show that structural and social barriers in tech education, the tech workforce, and venture capital investment disproportionately and negatively affect African American, Black, Hispanic, Latina, American Indian, Asian American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or of other Pacific Islander women. Many past efforts to increase the number of women in tech have focused on white women, and the specific structural barriers and contexts in which women of color are educated and work have largely been ignored.
The 2022 consensus report Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech provides evidence-based recommendations for increasing recruitment, retention, and advancement of women of color in tech. The report recognizes that the intersection of race, gender, and other social and cultural identities—and how those identities interact with existing systems of hierarchy, power, and structural barriers—can inform promising practices with the potential to increase the success of women of color in tech. To advance efforts in support of intersectional equity in tech, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will bring together leaders and key stakeholders in tech, inclusive of academia, national labs, and government agencies to establish an Action Collaborative that will form a coalition to advance five main goals for transforming trajectories for women of color in tech:
1. Sharing and elevating evidence-based, institutional solutions and strategies
2. Setting the research agenda and sharing research results across institutions
3. Developing a standard for measuring progress in the research enterprise
4. Raising broad awareness of the need for an intersectional approach in tech
5. Forming and sustaining strategic partnerships and networks
Fay Cobb Payton Ph.D, MBA is a consultant and Professor Emerita of Information Technology/Analytics and University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University. She earned the Full Professorship with tenure prior to her Emerita status. She completed a rotation as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) where she initiated the CISE Minority Serving Institution Research Expansion Program and worked on several initiatives, such as INCLUDES, Smart Health and Biomedical Research in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Science and others. Dr. Payton’s research focuses on AI bias/ethics and data quality/curation which impacts health equity and disparities, talent management, tech innovation and ecosystems development. She completed the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow program and was elected to Sigma Xi. She worked in the tech industry prior to and during her time in higher education. Dr. Payton has a B.S. in Accounting with a minor in Mathematics from Clark Atlanta University, and a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She has an MBA from Clark Atlanta University and her Ph.D. in information & decision systems from Case Western Reserve University.
Kimberly A. Scott, Ed.D., is Professor of women and gender studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University (ASU) and founding executive director of ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST). Scott was named in 2014 as a White House Champion of Change for STEM Access. In 2018, she was invited to join the National Science Foundation (NSA) STEM Education Advisory Panel created to encourage U.S. scientific and technological innovations in education in consultation with the U.S. Department of Education, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Scott was the 2022 Inaugural ASU Foundation Faculty Fellow focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion opportunities in philanthropy. Furthering her philanthropic focus, she served as Senior Equity Strategist, Presidential-Scholar-in-Residence, with the Henry Luce Foundation, from August 2022 through August 2023. She is the 2022 Recipient of the AERA Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award. With four published books, the most recent is COMPUGIRLS: How Girls of Color Find and Define Themselves in the Digital Age (2021, University of Illinois Press). Scott graduated from Smith in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in art history and French literature. She holds a master’s degree from Long Island University in curriculum and instruction/elementary education and earned a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.
Ashley Bear, Ph.D. is the Director of the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The activities of the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) serve to provide the nation with expert advice and guidance in support of greater intersectional gender equity in science, engineering, and medicine. In her role leading CWSEM, Dr. Bear oversees a portfolio of projects dealing with critical issues relating to increasing the participation and leadership opportunities for women in these fields. In her time at the Academies, Dr. Bear has led committees of experts and a dynamic staff team in carrying out consensus studies, workshop series, and national outreach efforts with the goal of providing a range of stakeholders with advice and guidance on how to support the improved gender equity in science, engineering, and medicine. Under her leadership, the CWSEM has advanced work on topics such a preventing and addressing sexual harassment, transforming trajectories for women of color in tech, highlighting promising institutional practices for equity and inclusion, understanding the structural barriers to women in entrepreneurship, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s research careers, and improving inclusion and diversity in clinical trials and clinical research. Before coming to the Academies, Dr. Bear worked for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Biological Infrastructure in the Directorate for Biological Sciences, where she managed a portfolio of mid-scale investments in scientific infrastructure. Dr. Bear also previously worked as a Science Policy Officer for the State Department’s Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, where she worked to promote science diplomacy and track emerging scientific trends with implications for foreign policy, managed programs to increase the scientific capacity of State Department, and acted as the liaison to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Dr. Bear holds a Sc.B. in Neuroscience from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University.
Jeena Thomas, M.S. is a Program Officer with the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Ms. Thomas primarily worked with the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education and now leads the recently launched Action Collaborative on Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech. In addition to her work on the Action Collaboratives, Ms. Thomas has also supported other National Academies projects like the 2021 consensus study, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” Ms. Thomas has also led efforts for bringing together experts and leaders from across the world to consider transformations needed from research and higher education institutions in the next 75 years to better address complex, global challenges at the September 2022 Endless Frontier Symposium. Prior to joining the National Academies, Ms. Thomas was selected as a Postbaccalaureate Fellow through the highly competitive National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Training Award Program and then was recruited to the Extramural Research Program to become the Operations Coordinator and Policy Liaison for the Division of Translational Research in the NIMH. Ms. Thomas earned her M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University and her B.A. in Biology from the University of Virginia.
 There is a critical need for institutions and organizations to take an intersectional approach—that takes into account how the intersection of race, gender, and economic disparities influences the experiences of women of color—when developing interventions aimed at improving equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM. In much of the published research and data related to the representation of women in tech, the data for women of color have not been disaggregated, and the reported experiences of women do not reflect the experiences and representation of women of color, which can vary substantially from that of white women. Furthermore, it is critical that women of color are not treated as a monolithic group.
 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.https://doi.org/10.17226/26345.