9-12 STEM Curriculum


According to The Executive Office of the President of the United States’ National Science and Technology Council’s 2018 report, “high-quality STEM opportunities are not available to all learners. Implicit bias is one factor that inhibits the realization of this goal. Disparity in the distribution of human, material, and financial resources across rural, urban, and suburban America also inhibits this goal.” As a result African American women, are underrepresented in STEM fields compared to other groups.

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Chicago is a key market in 2019,

although we serve communities nationwide

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CPS’s 18.4 ACT score is lower than the national average,

the national ACT average in 2017 is 21

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2nd to lowest group to graduate CPS H.S. is black young women

compared to other groups, except black young men.


STEM Education

There are many challenges that young African American women face in their journey to achieving STEM success. Among high schools nationwide that have higher than 75% African American enrollment, data reveals mathematics and science courses are offered at a lower rate than the overall population of all high schools. The most significant differences are revealed in advanced mathematics, calculus, and physics courses being offered.

Within Chicago Public Schools, we find young African American women are the 2nd lowest groups to graduate CPS H.S. And roughly 30 percent of chemistry and physics teachers in public high schools did not major in these fields and have not earned a certificate to teach those subjects. Creating equal access for high-quality STEM opportunities for young African American women through strategic partnerships and programs, will ensure our college-bound high school students are ready for courses typically required for a STEM major.


Studies have found that the strongest factors that sparked a student’s interest in STEM are extracurricular activities, classroom, and hands-on projects. American Woman aims to advocate for, facilitate and build extracurricular for young African American women. In-classroom activities of influence include performing laboratory experiments in class, and a high school teacher. A hands-on project such as a science fair or research experience is highly influential because it could be performed inside or outside the classroom. Other extracurricular activities of influence include a relative or friend who introduced the student to STEM, a childhood experience or encounter with nature or astronomy, fiction or nonfiction STEM books, STEM television shows, or STEM movie, and visiting a STEM museum.


Research shows that 63% of college graduates who complete a paid internship receive a job offer, compared to 35% who never interned. In addition, graduates with paid internships received a starting salary that was 28% higher than their peers without internship experience. In addition, recruiters often use previous compensation as a baseline for salary negotiations. Higher starting salaries impact graduates’ ability to repay debt and have long-term implications on career earnings. Merit raises are typically determined as a percentage of salary; hence, the higher the starting salary, the higher the raise.

Expand the availability of high-quality paid internships and apprenticeships. Education systems that combine high-quality career and technical training with college preparatory curriculum are particularly effective at preparing students for both employment and post-secondary study, especially when training required to obtain industry-recognized credentials is embedded in the coursework.


There are race gaps in SAT scores, among top scorers, those scoring between a 750 and 800 were 60% Asian and 33% are white, compared to 5% Latino and 2% percent African American. 35% are black among those scoring between 300 and 350. The mean score on the math section of the SAT for all test-takers is 511 out of 800, the average scores for blacks (428) and Latinos (457) are significantly below those of whites (534) and Asians (598).

Almost all college readiness indicator systems incorporate test scores as a primary indicator. ACT and SAT scores are often used in college admissions decisions, and this makes them meaningful for college outcomes. All states use standardized tests to judge students’ progress toward college readi- ness goals. Higher standard- ized test scores also help students get into more selective colleges. This can have an indirect influence on college graduation, since students are more likely to graduate at colleges that tend to be more selective, compared to students with similar qualifications who attend less selective schools.

American Woman’s mission is to facilitate supportive ACT/SAT services for CPS, in order to create equal access to STEM education for African American women and girls, as well as increase the representation among this group in STEM fields.

Caucasian students receive a disproportionately greater share of private scholarship funding than African-American, Latino or Asian students. Minority students represent 29.2% of high GPA students but receive only 22.4% of private scholarships, while Caucasian students represent 70.0% of high GPA students but receive 76.8% of private scholarships. Blacks are among the highest groups to demonstrate financial need such as the Pell Grant. 54% of Black student are pell grant recipients which mean they demonstrate financial need, compared to 17% of whites and 25% asians.

As a result black women graduate with the most U.S. student loan debt and for the longest period of time compared to white men and white women. 71% of women reported student loan debt at their bachelor’s degree graduation, compared to 66% of men. African-American women amass an average of $30,400 by college graduation, compared with $22,000 held against white women and $19,500 for Caucasian male students.

American Woman recognizes and acknowledges the lack of equal access to financial support. As a result, we have developed an “American Woman Scholarship Fund” to support our young African American women who are obtaining a STEM education.


For African American young women there is a large gap in the number of caring adults available to help them succeed in STEM. Our goal is to provide our young high school women with mentors throughout her high school career.