MRIGlobal Scientist Supports National Academy Of Science Program On Advancing Diversity

Publication Cites Need for Game-Changing Environment to Add Women, Underrepresented Minorities to STEM Workforce.

Aug 15, 2014, 10:30 ET from MRIGlobal

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Academy of Sciences has released a new report, "Advancing Diversity in the US Industrial Science and Engineering Workforce," and MRIGlobal is proud to note the contributions of Robert P. Casillas, Ph.D., to the publication.

Casillas, Vice President of Global Health Security for MRIGlobal and a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, served on the National Academy's Committee on Capitalizing on the Diversity of the Science and Engineering Workforce in Industry.

The 10-member committee organized a workshop to explore options to correct the underrepresentation of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. The workshop, "Creating a Game-Changing Environment for All in the Industrial Workforce," enlisted leaders from industry, academia, and professional associations.

The Academy's new publication is a summary of that workshop. The report is intended to facilitate continued discussion and action to address the disproportionally small fraction of minorities and women in STEM. Topics include best practices and innovative approaches in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women and underrepresented minorities in the scientific and engineering workforce.

"We found that there's a lot more work needed to produce a 'game-changing environment,'" Casillas said. "The evidence shows that women and minorities are not moving into science and engineering at the rates one would expect; they also are not advancing into leadership positions."

Casillas noted several opportunities for change, including these documented in the report:

  • Earlier introduction, at kindergarten through grade 12, to science and engineering
  • Career guidance on STEM fields
  • Stronger outreach from industry to university programs
  • Greater diversity in recruitment staffing
  • Peer group or cohort mentoring, in addition to one-on-one mentoring
  • Research into societal factors that influence women and underrepresented minorities' decision making regarding STEM careers

At MRIGlobal, Casillas is active in recruiting and mentoring in addition to his research commitments. Casillas, a member of the Hispanic Organization of Toxicology, also serves on the Society of Toxicology's Committee on Diversity Initiatives. MRIGlobal provides an annual travel scholarship to an underrepresented minority student to attend the Society of Toxicology's international conference and present research findings.

The publication is available from the National Academies Press as a free download or for purchase as a paperback book. In addition to the workshop summary, the report includes a list of selected literature on the topic of advancing diversity in the science and engineering workforce.

Citation: National Academy of Engineering. Advancing Diversity in the US Industrial Science and Engineering Workforce: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.

About MRIGlobal
MRIGlobal, a not-for-profit research and development organization, delivers solutions in global health, national security and defense, and energy and the environment. The organization performs scientific research, advanced engineering, and program integration and management for clients in government, industry, and academia. Established in 1944 as Midwest Research Institute, MRIGlobal is based in Kansas City, Mo., operates in nine states and Washington, D.C. MRIGlobal employs more than 500 and manages 2,600-plus workers through management and operations programs with government clients.

MRIGlobal is one of two partners in the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, which manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., for the U.S. Department of Energy.

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