‘As Scientists, We Have Yet to Close the Racial Disparities’

Hiroku Tabuchi & Tatiana Schlossberg | June 10, 2020

Dr. Esther Ngumbi is a Aspen New Voices Senior Fellow who is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Auburn University in Alabama. For the last three years, she has served as a Clinton Global University (CGI U) Mentor for Agriculture. Esther was named by One World Action as one of the 100 powerful women who change the world. She was the recipient of the first 2017 Emerging Sustainability Leader Award and 2017 Women of Courage Award. She is also serving as a member of Entomological Society of America Science Policy Committee. She has published over 40 opinion pieces in outlets ranging from Scientific American to Time Magazine.

In the New York Times Climate Fwd: newsletter, Dr. Ngumbi was interviewed about the ned for more black scientists and how far we have to go to close the racial disparities gap. Only about 9% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering go to Black students. Dr. Ngumbi states, “I go to conferences, and I’m often the only person of color in the room. You sit in a classroom and all the scientists that are being introduced are white, white, white…” As the United States is reckoning with how Black people are being treated within the criminal justice system, the scientific field is also having a tough look within itself on the systemic racism that exists within the STEM field.