Ignited’s Collaborative Approach to Cultivating
Diversity in STEM

By: Kathrine Dela



In 2023, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) released a report indicating progress in STEM diversity. While more historically marginalized groups are entering STEM jobs and earning science and engineering degrees, significant underrepresentation persists. This underscores the importance of concerted efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the STEM fields. 

Anthony Tuttle, Social Impact Project Manager at Palo Alto Networks, emphasizes the pivotal role of diversity in driving innovation and problem-solving in STEM: “Prioritizing an inclusive workforce with people from different backgrounds – particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in the tech industry – not only helps ensure that our employees reflect and represent the diverse communities where we live, work, and serve around the world, but it also fuels more creative and innovative problem-solving by ensuring a rich pool of new ideas which are born out a diversity of lived experiences. Apart from being the right thing to do, all of this helps drive better business outcomes and keeps Palo Alto Networks on the cutting edge of a rapidly evolving and increasingly interconnected technology landscape.” 

Early intervention is key to achieving diversity in STEM, so it is essential to equip K-12 educators with the knowledge and resources to implement inclusive teaching practices. Ignited and partner nonprofits promote diversity within STEM by weaving inclusive practices into their collaborations with industry leaders, teachers, and students. 


Nurturing Diversity and Inclusion

Ignited partners with diverse tech leaders to elevate visibility for underrepresented STEM communities. Speakers for Ignited programs have included female leaders in male-dominated fields and Black and Hispanic tech leaders advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Ignited also leads diversity-focused projects with companies like Meta to enhance hiring practices, Genentech to explore health equity, and SEMI Foundation to design middle-school DEI curricula. Notably, Ignited prioritizes recruiting educators from underserved schools, with 60% of participants in 2023 coming from such schools. 

In its commitment to accessibility, Ignited collaborates with partners like Science from Scientists (SciSci) to introduce students to diverse STEM professionals through resources like “Scientist Spotlights.” This initiative allows students to see themselves reflected in various STEM careers, inspiring them to pursue their interests. One of SciSci’s current priorities is to update its hands-on, minds-on learning materials and teaching practices to amplify active engagement for multilingual learners. These updates include images to support text, instructional scaffolding to help students create claims using evidence, and purposeful ”wait time” for all students to participate in class discussions. 

Beth Murphy, PhD, Director of Education at SciSci, emphasizes the importance of adjustments made to support multilingual learners in STEM classrooms. “By incorporating practices consistent with Universal Design for Learning into our program, we better meet the needs of students from diverse linguistic backgrounds; these modifications benefit all learners in our partner school classrooms. Our efforts are helping to ensure that ALL students can engage in doing science – the hands-on investigating and the subsequent sensemaking – and are thus better prepared to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world.”


Forging More Inclusive STEM Communities

Ignited and its partners exemplify inclusive practices in STEM through collaborative efforts with diverse audiences. By integrating diversity practices into their programs, they address underrepresentation in STEM, shaping a more equitable future for the field.




Contact us to learn how you can help cultivate diversity in classrooms through Ignited’s Programs.


Cultivate diversity in your classroom! Check out Ignited and SciSci’s programs to conect directly with diverse industry professionals, or visit Ignited’s Career Hub for industry-aligned resources highlighting diversity in STEM.