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SCS DEI Update

Jul. 22, 2021

Investing in a Diverse American Science Enterprise

This week, we focus on immigrant students and their impact on U.S. enterprise. Divyansh Kaushik, an SCS Ph.D. student and president of the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), recently asserted in an article he wrote in Issues in Science and Technology that foreign students and entrepreneurs have been extremely impactful in the history of innovation in the U.S., and now that more countries are competing for talent, Congress must create a system to attract highly skilled immigrants.

Among the points Kaushik makes in his article:

  • Smart, dedicated scientists are inherently scarce, therefore their choice of where to live and work is critical.
  • Today, immigrants make up 18% of the U.S. workforce; have won 39% of the country’s Nobel Prizes in science; comprise over 40% of STEM Ph.D. graduates and 28% of the science and engineering faculty in U.S. universities; produce 28% of the nation’s high-quality patents; and have founded more than 50% of the billion dollar startup companies in the U.S.
  • However, the process of recruiting and retaining immigrants to reach these achievements has been done haphazardly. This system benefits universities who have been aggressive about recruiting, and their local economies.
  • The benefits of skilled immigration can be seen in cities such as Pittsburgh. International students make up approximately 50% of the Carnegie Mellon student body. Many have graduated and gone on to transform local companies in R&D, artificial intelligence, life sciences and startups.
  • The U.S. needs formalized mechanisms to recruit and retain immigrant students. There is significant global competition to recruit international scientists and entrepreneurs (e.g., the UK's Global Talent Visa). In contrast, the US does not have an uncapped visa or realistic pathways to recruit and retain international scientists and engineers. In fact, several members of Congress are champions of immigration reform.
  • The key to being a global leader in science and technology over the next 75 years is recognizing those who helped to historically make the United States powerful. Now is the time for U.S. leaders to recognize and act on the importance of immigrant scientists and engineers.

Read the full essay on the Issues in Science and Technology website.

What We're Doing and How You Can Get Involved

We are gearing up for the start of the fall semester by preparing relevant information, workshop materials and training materials in SCS.

  • On Monday, August 16, we will welcome new SCS faculty at New Faculty Orientation with a session entitled "Working Toward an Inclusive Environment for All."
  • On Thursday, August 19, we will engage with the Tartan Scholars for a welcome session and orientation.
  • On Tuesday, August 24, we will take part in DEI Day for CMU’s First-Year Orientation. An SCS-specific session will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. that same day. We are looking for student volunteers to talk about their experience with the following programs: SCS4ALL, SCS4Disabilities, Women@SCS, OurCS, TechNights and SCS Day. Contact us if you are interested and have relevant experience.
  • We are building our internal team: hiring an executive director for DEI, an administrative assistant and forming some working advisory committees. Stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved!