STEM opportunities are still out of reach for many underrepresented minorities. Discover the professional organizations that support diversity in STEM.
- Women make up half of the national STEM workforce but earn less than men.
- Minorities in STEM, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), are disproportionately represented.
- Dedicated organizations exist to advocate for women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and neurodiverse professionals in STEM.
STEM employment is booming in the post-internet era. All types of business sectors rely on professionals with expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math to stay competitive. Jobs in STEM fields have grown by 79% since 1990, according to Pew Research Center.
Diversity in STEM is critical to bridge existing minority income gaps. While women account for 50% of STEM jobs nationwide, they earn less than Asian or white men in this sector, as do other minorities in STEM, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and professionals with a disability.
The following organizations promote underrepresented minorities in STEM.
7 Organizations for Professional Women in STEM
Founded in 2012 as an experimental initiative, Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap for girls in tech jobs by 2030. The organization specifically serves 13-to-17-year-old girls studying computer science, including those in underrepresented minorities.
NGCP was launched in 2002 to address gender equity in STEM in Oregon and Washington. The organization has since expanded into national initiatives. It advocates for girls and women in STEM, from K-12 through higher education and tech employment opportunities.
Founded in 1971, AWM is among the nation’s most eminent societies for women in mathematical science fields, with more than 3,500 international members. AWM aims to create a more robust professional network for women mathematicians than in its founding era.
Since its launch in 1971, AWIS has gained more than 5,000 members over 31 local chapters. AWIS promotes equity for women in STEM organizations through networking, career development, mentorship opportunities, and scholarships for minorities in STEM.
WEPAN began in 1990 to imagine and create a more inclusive campus culture for women studying engineering and in the workforce. Members enjoy various professional development opportunities, including WEPAN’s comprehensive webinar series.
Scientista was founded at Harvard in 2011 by two sisters who were studying biology and unsatisfied with the lack of resources for women on campus. The organization uniquely targets pre-professional women in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM).
Conceived in 1881, AAUW remains at the center of the fight for gender equality in the United States. The organization emphasizes advocacy initiatives and policy reform for issues including gender bias, pay gaps, and STEM gaps in schools and the workforce.
7 Organizations for BIPOC STEM Professionals
The following organizations support professionals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color in one or more STEM fields. Such organizations commonly raise awareness for education and scholarships for minorities in STEM, and employment opportunities.
AISES supports initiatives for K-12 students, professionals, and partnering sponsors to raise the profile of the Indigenous people of North America and the Pacific Islands in STEM. The organization was founded in 1977 and serves more than 5,900 members.
Founded in 1972, NOBCChE supports Black chemists, chemical engineers, and other STEM professionals throughout their careers. The organization addresses professional development, academic support, philanthropic efforts, and mentorship opportunities for Black leaders.
Indigenous Mathematicians aims to connect its present membership to the wisdom of their ancient ancestors. Formed in 2019 during the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science conference, this organization emphasizes networking and fellowship opportunities.
Founded in 1974 as the Mexican American Engineering Society (MAES), Latinos in Science and Engineering organizes enrichment, mentorship, servant leadership, and advocacy programs to advance Latino leaders in STEM fields.
NAM promotes minorities in STEM through programs including joint mathematics meetings, regional conferences, and graduate and undergraduate MATHFest events. NAM also advocates for Black STEM professionals alongside organizations such as the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences.
Established in 2012, BIT emphasizes
stomping the divide for Black men and women in technology through community-focused leadership events and advocacy engagement. BIT is the largest organization of its kind for Black tech professionals.
Founded in 1974, NACME awards more than $5 million in annual scholarships through corporate sponsors, including Ford, Microsoft, and AT&T. The organization also promotes research, training, and engagement opportunities and hosts an annual conference.
5 Organizations for STEM Professionals With Disabilities
Organizations catering to STEM professionals with disabilities can help exceptional people hone their technical abilities and build soft skills for the workforce, especially in the technology and science fields.
Established in 2010, nonPareil offers comprehensive technical and work-readiness training programs, and social engagement opportunities for autistic adults. As of 2022, nonPareil has served more than 850 trainees and boasts a 76% success rate.
Founded in 1996, AAAS works to develop the talents of people with disabilities in STEM. AAAS’ signature Entry Point! program recruits, trains, and places people in a 10-week paid internship in their preferred area of scientific interest.
I-Stem emphasizes greater access to educational and employment opportunities in STEM for people with disabilities. Initiatives include recruitment, fellowship, mentorship, technical training, and an annual conference. Corporate sponsors include Microsoft, aisea, and Morgan Stanley.
The National Science Foundation promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in STEM through its NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) national network. Launched in 2016, the network includes bridge programs, technical training, and career development.
Founded in 1975 through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, FSD aims to integrate professionals with disabilities into the broader science and STEM fields. Initiatives include research, pre-professional programs, and scholarships.
7 Organizations for LGBTQ+ STEM Professionals
STEM fields increasingly recruit talent from within the LGBTQ+ community. The following organizations promote mentorship and equal opportunities for science, technology, engineering, and math professionals who also happen to have LGBTQ+ identities.
Established in 2005, oSTEM serves more than 100 professional and student chapters throughout North America and the UK. oSTEM was the first organization of its kind to represent LGBTQ+ communities in STEM professions. Members enjoy mentorship, scholarships, networking, and professional development opportunities.
Pride in STEM recognized a lack of out LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM and was launched out of the UK to create a more inclusive environment for minority talent. Pride in STEM promotes efforts toward greater visibility, intersectionality, and improvement for underrepresented STEM workers.
500 Queer Scientists is a visibility campaign consisting of the stories of more than 1,726 LGBTQ+ professionals working in STEM fields. The organization offers a self-publishing platform for STEM mentors and role models to encourage and support the rising generation.
Previously known as the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Out to Innovate was launched during the Obama administration. This biennial career summit creates unique engagement opportunities for gay and lesbian STEM professionals to network, research, and enhance their careers.
Established in 2014, Maven Youth empowers 14-to-24-year-old teens and young adults in the LGBTQ+ community to break into the tech sector. The organization creates safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth through its Youth Council, apprenticeships, internships, and leadership retreats.
TransTech focuses on economic empowerment for LGBTQ+ talent in STEM fields through corporate or community membership. Sponsors include Google, the Linux Foundation, and the Human Rights Campaign.
Lesbians Who Tech aims to increase the visibility and recruitment of LGBTQ+ talent in the tech community. The organization hosts annual summits to foster networking and career development opportunities. It also offers a coding scholarship.