Author Archives: Dr. Allison Scott

$10 million to increase diversity in Bay Area STEM classrooms

Editor's Note:This guest post comes from Dr. Allison Scott, Chief Research Officer of the Kapor Center, a nonprofit aiming to increase diversity and inclusion in technology.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM) play a critical role in our society, touching every aspect of our lives. STEM occupations are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying, and contribute significantly to our nation’s economy. To get students on track for STEM careers, they have to start early: students who take advanced STEM courses in high school are much more likely to major in equivalent subjects in college and specifically, Black and Latinx students who take advanced Computer Science (CS) in high school are 7-8 times more likely to major in CS in college. 

AP Stem

But unfortunately, access to advanced STEM and CScourses is not evenly distributed. Low-income students and students of color across California are less likely to have access to computer science courses than their peers, and as a result, students of color are underrepresented across every AP® math, science, and CS course in California. But we can change these trends.

AP Stem

With a $10 million contribution from, we’re launching the Rising STEM Scholars Initiative to increase the number of low income students and students of color in AP STEM and CS courses across the Bay Area. Through a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools, UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, Kingmakers of Oakland,, we’ll collaborate with districts, schools, administrators, educators, students and families to place and support 3,000 students of color and low income students in Bay Area AP STEM and CS classrooms. The project started last year in 15 schools across the Bay Area. Within the first year, the number of Black and LatinX students taking AP STEM classes doubled. 

The Rising STEM Scholars initiative will address the challenges in STEM and CS equity by providing data insights on equity gaps, coaching schools to address these gaps, and providing professional development opportunities for teachers. We’ll also provide money for educators to get resources for their classrooms and find ways to inspire students to take AP courses.

Students sitting in high school classrooms right now have the potential to become future leaders in fields from technology to education—they just need the opportunities to get there. Let’s ensure all students in the Bay Area have access to the classes they need to succeed. If you’re located in the Bay Area, help us spread the word to join the movement

Addressing equity in CS curriculum with Kapor Center

Editor’s note: This post is authored by Dr. Allison Scott, Chief Research Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. The Kapor Center received a grant, as part of Code with Google’s $25 million commitment to increasing Black and Latinx students’ access to computer science education.

In our increasingly technology-driven world, computer science is critical for all students to learn. Computing is shaping the future of fields as diverse as medicine, entertainment, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture, and our students must be prepared with the technical skills to succeed in the fastest-growing and highest-paying occupations in our future.

However, not all students have the opportunity to learn computing concepts. Large access gaps exist, especially for low-income students and students of color. And even when computing courses are available, classrooms are not always inclusive and engaging for students from all backgrounds.

When developed intentionally, curriculum is a powerful tool for creating inclusivity. It’s the playbook that teachers build from, and provides an opportunity to incorporate students’ backgrounds, interests, and passions, with the knowledge and skills needed in their futures, regardless of what they choose to pursue. In computer science classrooms, students can assess air quality, predict performance of athletes or political candidates, consider the ethical implications of autonomous vehicles and facial recognition software, and understand how data can diagnose and treat cancer. 

Today the Kapor Center received a $3 million grant to establish the Equitable Computer Science Curriculum initiative. This effort will bring together leaders in education equity, inclusive teaching practices, and computer science education, along with teachers and students to improve K-12 CS curriculum and resources. Alongside a diverse advisory board, we'll develop guidelines for creating culturally-relevant learning materials and support curriculum providers to implement those best practices. Through this initiative, thousands of teachers will access CS curricula that counteracts stereotypes, builds CS interest, and affirms the diverse identities of the millions of students across the country.

It will take more than one organization or one intervention to improve computing education and we look forward to working with many experts across many disciplines to improve inclusion, participation, and equity in CS classrooms. Join us in this exciting initiative.