Saturday, April 06, 2013

National Academy of Sciences recognizes Pacific Islander underrepresentation... Which means Missouri Scholarship does too!

We've been sharing a lot of good news with you since completing our national study on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander access to underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships last fall, and providing information to the programs that excluded Pacific Islanders at the time of our study. That's because the scholarships and fellowships are making the right decision -- to include Pacific Islanders -- after reviewing decades of data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education.

Several leading academic entities recognized this well before last year's national study, like the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, their report on underrepresented minorities recognized that Pacific Islanders are an underrepresented group. (You can read that report here: LINK.)

On page 22 of that report, they write:

Underrepresented minorities, as used in this report, refer to African Americans, Hispanic or Latino Americans, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Asians, while a minority group in the U.S. population, are typically overrepresented in science and engineering fields. Pacific Islanders are considered an underrepresented group. However, most national data sets for scientists and engineers aggregate Asians and Pacific Islanders, so it is generally impossible to present separate data for this group. 

Recognition by the National Academies of Science is important for many reasons. One you might not think of: at least one state sets its definition of underrepresented (for the purposes of a state-run scholarship) based on what the National Academy of Sciences says.

We're referring to the State of Missouri's Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program, which runs a scholarship to help high achieving underrepresented minorities earn a degree in an environmental field of study. This program includes Pacific Islanders as an underrepresented minority.

Why? Because Missouri law provides that for this program, the definition of "underrepresented minority" will follow the data and findings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mahalo to the National Academy of Sciences for recognizing the data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation, and to the State of Missouri for establishing a standard that includes deserving underrepresented minority groups.


For those interested, here is a link to the State of Missouri's Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program: LINK

Here is a link to the Missouri State law I mentioned: LINK

And just for good measure, we've pasted a copy of the relevant section of the Missouri Revised Statutes:

Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 173
Department of Higher Education
Section 173.240 

August 28, 2012

Program established--fund created--purpose--administration--rulemaking authority--advisory committee created, members, duties.
173.240. 1. There is hereby established within the department of higher education a "Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program". The department of higher education, hereafter referred to as the department, may award scholarships to minority and underrepresented students to pursue environmentally related courses of study. The scholarships shall be administered by the department recruitment and retention program under the supervision of the minority environmental literacy advisory committee established under this section. Those ethnic groups which are most severely underrepresented, as determined by data gathered and maintained by the National Academy of Sciences, shall receive priority in annual selection.

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