The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Glass Ceiling in STEM | 50 Free Anti-Racism and Mental Health Resources

Asian individuals represent the largest racial group of STEM professionals, however, a recent study on the San Francisco Bay Area’s tech sector found that they were the least likely to become managers and executives. Additionally, another study reveals that Asians encounter the same forms of bias experienced by other people of color. This statistic is revealing:  the majority of diversity initiatives in STEM address the challenges faced by underrepresented minorities (URMs) — Black and Latinx people — but exclude Asian people. 

Because Asian Americans aren’t always counted as an underrepresented group, the disparity may not be an obvious problem to companies. “Asian Americans are the forgotten minority in the glass ceiling conversation,” say Buck Gee and Denise Peck, two former Silicon Valley executives. According to their findings, Asians are sometimes grouped with whites in diversity reports, while at other times they are omitted from reporting altogether.

The effects of this discrimination and bias on Asian professionals’ health and wellbeing can be profound. The consequences of the glass ceiling on minorities have been examined in an article by Healthline, which indicates that having a stalled career and not being able to earn a desired income can lead to feelings of self-doubt, isolation, resentment, chronic stress, mood disorders, and anger. 

In order to create an environment that fosters equality and opportunity for all, it is important to understand and address the injustices and inequalities experienced specifically within the Asian STEM community. Companies must also address the glass ceiling Asian workers face by developing social-inclusion initiatives, culture specific training, and unconscious bias prevention. This article will provide access to these and other resources.

Free Resources to Address Inequalities Facing Asians in STEM

Asian and BIPOC inclusion is an integral factor in the success of any industry, including STEM fields — their perspectives are crucial to an innovative environment and a diverse workforce. To support this, the free resources below are designed to help foster the wellbeing and professional growth of Asian STEM professionals and newcomers. Resources to support Asian STEM professionals in the workforce, including allyships, unconscious bias prevention, and more, are also included.

Mental Health and Self Care for Asian STEM Professionals 

The National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) reported that while 18% of the general U.S. population sought mental health services and resources, only 8.6% of Asian Americans sought those services. The following list provides resources for mental health and self-care. 

  1. Asian American Psychological Association — This organization is committed to helping Asian Americans succeed through various resources and initiatives. 
  2. The Asian Mental Health Collective — This resource can aid you in your search for a mental health professional. 
  3. The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association — This resource provides mental health and behavioral services for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
  4. South Asian Mental Health Initiative & Network | SAMHIN — SAMHIN is a nonprofit that addresses the mental health needs of the South Asian community in the U.S. 
  5. Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) — AAHI is committed to improving the health and wellness of Asian Americans through equity, community engagement, data-driven approaches, and more. 
  6. Asian Mental Health Project — This project aims to educate and empower Asian communities in seeking mental healthcare. 
  7. Asians Do Therapy — This resource is dedicated to reducing stigma and increasing accessibility to mental health resources for the Asian community. 
  8. Subtle Asian Mental Health — The Facebook group describes itself as a place for people to talk about mental health issues without judgment. 
  9. Asian American Racism & Mental Health Resources — This site offers resources tailored toward learners, parents, educators, mental health clinicians, and allies.

Professional Development Resources for Asian Learners

For Asians in STEM wishing to grow their careers, professional development is vital. Here is a list of professional development resources designed for AAPI learners.  

  1. Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarships — Learners can access this resource for a list of scholarships available to AP Islanders.
  2. Against The Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship — This scholarship provides financial assistance for Asian American college seniors and alumni.
  3. EduBirdie’s Asian/Pacific Islander Guide — Here is a curated list of 15 scholarships for Asian/Pacific Islander learners. 
  4. Shui Kuen & Allen Chin Scholarship — This resource by Asian Pacific Fund outlines a list of scholarships for which you can apply.
  5. APIA Scholars General Scholarship — This general scholarship is designed for Asian & Pacific Islander American scholars.
  6. Asian Pacific Fund — This community foundation is committed to empowering Asian and Pacific Islanders through professional development resources. 
  7. Seguritan: Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship — The Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship is offered to first-generation Asian Americans. 
  8. Chin: Shui Kuen and Allen Chin ScholarshipThis scholarship was created to help Asian learners achieve their educational goals. 

Professional Development Resources for Asian Women in STEM

Today, Asian women hold only six percent of computing-related jobs. The resources for Asian women in STEM listed below are designed to help them succeed. 

  1. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum — This organization works to build a movement for social, political, and structural change for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls.
  2. Asian Women Giving Circle — This community of Asian American women works together to amplify the transformative power of arts and culture in order to promote a just and equitable society.
  3. Women in STEM: A Guide to Bridging the Gender Gap — This article shares resources and support for women who are interested in pursuing a STEM career. 
  4. Asian Women’s ScholarshipsThis article provides a curated list of scholarships designed for Asian women. 
  5. 2020 Asian American Women in Tech Series — This webinar series brings together female executives and other impact makers in technology to share insightful thoughts and experiences. 
  6. South Asian Women Leading in Tech — Here is a list of incredible women in the South Asian community who are leading the way in tech.

STEM Resources for Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Learners and Professionals

AAPI STEM talent is crucial to an inclusive and productive workforce. Here is a list of free resources to help foster career advancement and development for AAPI learners and professionals. 

  1. Asian American Students’ Postsecondary STEM Education Pathways — This essay shares a series of STEM educational pathways for Asian American learners. 
  2. Creating Successful Pathways for AAPIs in STEM — This textbook focuses on establishing successful pathways for AAPIs who are interested in STEM fields. 
  3. Asian American Women in Tech Webinar Series — This webinar series is designed to highlight Asian American women in tech. 
  4. 21 Female Scientists Who Slay — This article shares 21 remarkable female scientists who are paving the way for other women in the field.
  5. Asian/Pacific Islander Scholarships — Here is a curated list of over 100 scholarships designed for Asian/Pacific Islander learners.

Associations Supporting Asian American/Pacific Islanders in STEM

Associations are an excellent resource for connecting with industry contacts — and, in particular, connecting with other AAPI STEM professionals. The following groups are committed to helping Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in their pursuit of STEM careers. 

  1. Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) — SASE is committed to preparing Asian-heritage scientists and engineers for success in the global business world.
  2. Asian Society Of Women In STEM & Medicine — The group aims to support the success of Asian women in the STEM and medical fields. 
  3. STEM Paths Innovation Network — This group’s mission is to help close the opportunity gap in STEM education. 
  4. Asian American Architects and Engineers Association — The Asian American Architects and Engineers Association (AAa/e) is committed to providing a platform for empowering professionals.
  5. Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE) — CIE is a nonprofit organization of Chinese-American engineers, scientists, and other professionals.
  6. National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering — This organization’s mission is to increase the number of AAPI and BIPOC engineers in the United States by increasing diversity in STEM fields.

Employer Resources to Help Support Asian American/Pacific Islanders in the Workplace:

Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders can be supported by employers and businesses in a variety of ways. There are several resources available to assist with this.

  1. Advancing Asian Women in the Workplace — This downloadable PDF offers advice for managers on how to support the advancement of AAPI women in the workplace. 
  2. How to Create Diversity and Inclusion Training — This article explains how to create diversity and inclusion training initiatives to address biases and prejudices within the workplace.
  3. A Practical Toolkit to Help Employers Build an Inclusive Workforce — This toolkit is designed to help employers build an inclusive workforce. 
  4. How To Develop Diversity Training That Is Actually Effective — This article discusses techniques for developing effective diversity training initiatives.
  5. The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Racial Discrimination in Hiring — This guide can help you avoid racial discrimination in hiring processes. 
  6. Test Whether You Have a Hidden Bias — This video shows you how to check your own potential bias and provides strategies for improving business relationships.

Anti-Racism Education Resources for the Wider AAPI Community

These anti-racism resources are designed to help readers engage in important, yet difficult discussions related to racial identity in the broader AAPI community. 

  1. The Roots of Anti-Asian Hate in America | Past Forward — A one-hour video exploring the source of Anti-Asian bigotry throughout American history. 
  2. How Asian Americans Are Fighting Bias and Racism — The following article discusses how Asian Americans are fighting bias and racism today.
  3. We Need To Talk About Anti-Asian Hate — Explore an in-depth conversation about the complex, often untold story of the Asian American community and the unique struggles they face. 
  4. Challenging Anti-Asian Bias and Acting as an Ally — This resource was developed for learners, schools, and families as a tool to begin the conversation about speaking out against anti-Asian bias. 
  5. Teach Your Kids to Resist Hatred Toward Asians — This article by the New York Times shares a list of books to combat discrimination and xenophobia and foster activism.
  6. Stop AAPI Hate: Towards Prevention and Solidarity — This panel discussion shares tips on AAPI hate prevention and solidarity. 
  7. The Best Books About Asian American Identity, According to Experts — This article by New York Magazine shares a list of books about Asian American identity. 
  8. Anti-Asian Violence Resources — These resources have been gathered to help individuals educate others, take action, donate, and more.
  9. Solidarity Stories — This project is designed to archive, document, and better understand solidarity practices within Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 
  10. AAPI Data — This data looks at anti-Asian hate incidents and the broader landscape of racial bias.

The inclusion of these resources is for educational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by Columbia Engineering Boot Camps or Columbia Engineering.

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