Vanderbilt University’s Ebony O. McGee is setting out to answer a persistent question that has plagued the evolving world of STEM education: Will your success in science be affected if you are Black or Brown?  

Diversity in STEM fields has been frustratingly apparent for many years, pushing educators, thought leaders and advocates across the world to amplify these careers and provide access for those who have historically been underrepresented in the space. It’s also why McGee penned Black, Brown, and Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation. The associate professor investigates what it means to be racially marginalized and minoritized in the context of learning and achieving in STEM higher education and in the STEM professions. 

On Friday McGee will present her thoughts at Cal State San Bernardino College of Natural Sciences.

“I am very excited to have Dr. McGee share her insights and powerful perspectives with our faculty, students, and the CSUSB community,” says Sastry G. Pantula, dean of CSUSB in a statement shared with EBONY. “I deeply appreciate her scholarship and research that supports efforts to enhance diversity among STEM students and shed light on how systems can be improved for underrepresented communities to reach their full potential in the classroom, academia, and workforce. Diversity enhances excellence in science.”

According to a Pew Research Study, Blacks make up 11 percent of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9 percent of STEM workers. And among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, Blacks are just 7 percent of the STEM workforce.

McGee has been working in the field of STEM education for a number of years, earning a Ph.D. in mathematics education and a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Illinois. She’s also the co-founder of the Institute in Critical Quantitative and Mixed Methodologies Training for Underrepresented Scholars, which “aims to be a go-to resource for the development of quantitative and mixed-methods skillsets that challenge simplistic quantifications of race and marginalization.”

“As a Professor of Diversity and STEM Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, I investigate what it means to be racially marginalized while minoritized in the context of learning and achieving in STEM higher education and in the STEM professions,” McGee says in her professional bio. “I study in particular the racialized experiences and racial stereotypes that adversely affect the education and career trajectories of underrepresented groups of color.”

Attendees can register for McGee’s lecture using the event’s registration link. Both in-person and virtual attendees are welcomed.