The STEM PUSH Network Reacts To Changes in Higher Ed Admissions Practices

As a collective that squarely aims for opportunity and access in higher education for Black, Latina/o/e and Indigenous students in STEM, the STEM PUSH Network is deeply concerned by the current assaults against race-conscious admissions practices. These policies have provided much needed counters to the systemic racism that hampers opportunity for under-represented students—especially in STEM related disciplines and professions.

“Race conscious admissions practices have long been a critical tool in the struggle for equity at many top-tier institutions. We’ve seen time and again that in states that have banned these policies, the numbers of Black and Latina/o/e students have dropped significantly” said Alison Slinskey Legg, Principal Investigator for the STEM PUSH Network.

For the last four years, the STEM PUSH Network has developed tools and practices, grounded in research, to create systemic systemic change in the college admissions process by leveraging the power of pre-college STEM programs. Partners are connected by a shared commitment to access and opportunity in higher education for Black, Latina/o/e and Indigenous students.  

STEM PUSH recognizes that Affirmative Action was not a policy for institutions of higher education to simply gain numbers, but a tool for universities and colleges to look beyond test scores – measures that have long been proven to be racially biased. 

“At a time when we are only beginning to confront the systemic racism and oppressions of so many of our institutions, we need as many levers as possible. Diversity is about bringing together multiple lived experiences and perspectives for better, stronger, truly innovative approaches to the challenges we face, and higher education must continue to drive this change,” Slinskey Legg said.

“An attempt to be “color-blind” does not bring us closer to achieving more equitable systems of learning. It does, however, manage to hide the unseen systems of oppression that work against our Black, Latina/o/e and Indigenous students every day, across every facet of their lives on a daily basis,” Slinskey Legg added.

“As we review this new admissions environment and reflect on the ramifications, we will draw upon our resources, opportunities, and strengths as a Network to understand this new landscape and chart out next steps,” Slinskey Legg said.

STEM PUSH will continue its work to broaden participation in higher education despite the obstacles. Learn more at


The STEM PUSH Network

The STEM PUSH Network, an NSF INCLUDES Alliance, is working to leverage the power of pre-college STEM programs (PCSPs) to broaden participation of Black, Latina/o/e, and Indigenous students in STEM, and, together with its partners, create systemic change in higher education admissions. STEM PUSH is building the first national network of pre-college STEM programs and is conducting the first large, cross-program research study of pre-college STEM program experiences on student enrollment and persistence in STEM in higher education. 

The STEM PUSH Network is funded by The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Initiative, a comprehensive national effort to enhance U.S. leadership in discoveries and innovations by focusing on diversity, inclusion and broadening participation in STEM at scale. STEM PUSH is also co-funded by the NSF Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program and the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program.; Twitter: @STEMPUSHNetwork; LinkedIn: STEM-PUSH-Network; Facebook: STEM PUSH Network

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