NEWS: Olin joins National Academies Action Collaborative to improve pathways for women of color in tech

December 20, 2023

Olin College joins the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and 35 other founding institutions representing higher education, national laboratories, and government to form a new Action Collaborative on Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech.

The Action Collaborative will be guided by recommendations made in the NASEM consensus report, Transforming Trajectories for Women of Color in Tech, which provides evidence-based findings and recommendations for increasing recruitment, retention, and advancement of women of color in tech fields.

"Women of color face amplified barriers and biases that can impede their progress and limit their opportunities in STEM and in tech,” said Olin President Gilda A. Barabino, chair of the National Academies’ Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. “Through this effort, we will work together to dismantle these barriers and foster an environment where every woman, regardless of her background, has the chance to thrive and contribute to cutting-edge developments in science and technology.”

Founded in 1997 and located in Needham, Massachusetts, Olin College is a leader in engineering education. In just 25 years, Olin has changed the way engineers are educated around the world with its focus on project-based, human-centered and design-focused curriculum.

As a member of the Action Collaborative, Olin will work to catalyze and facilitate partnerships to transform the pathways in tech education and careers for women who identify as African American, Black, Hispanic, Latina, Native American, Asian American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander.

President Gilda Barabino

Olin’s small size and wholehearted institutional commitment to equity and justice make our college a natural fit to embark on this work as a member of the Action Collaborative.

Olin’s students, faculty and staff are a wellspring of innovation and our community is excited to partner with the institutions of the Collaborative.

Gilda Barabino

Olin President

The Collaborative will offer a platform for the exchange of ideas and promising practices, and the institutions will aim to achieve together what they may not be able to achieve individually—targeted, collective action, to accomplish seven goals:

  • Form and sustain strategic partnerships and networks to address barriers with intentionality.
  • Share promising practices and programs that demonstrate institutional change benefitting women of color in tech, including through alternative pathways into tech.
  • Work collectively to design and implement qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods data collection practices that reflect representation and lived experiences of women of color and account for potential small sample sizes.
  • Develop a shared standard for measuring progress and promoting transparency and accountability.
  • Set national and local research agendas and gather and share research results to inform policy and practice.
  • Improve and sustain broad awareness and understanding throughout the tech sector of the meaning and importance of intersectionality.
  • Develop a shared standard for measuring progress and promoting transparency and accountability.

“This initiative will require dedication and collaboration from all of us,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “We are committed to facilitating research, collaboration, and action that reflect the representation and lived experiences of women of color, in hopes of driving substantial change in the tech and engineering ecosystem.”

Founded in 1997, Olin instills passion and ignites innovation in its students and prepares them to envision, create and deliver products, services, and systems that transform and improve people’s lives around the world. Olin teaches students to be explorers and creators who design their own path forward. By challenging norms and sharing its unique approach to education, Olin is revolutionizing the way engineers, and all undergraduates, learn and create knowledge. Located in Needham Massachusetts, Olin is ranked among the top-three undergraduate engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.