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Suzanne Van Cooten

Native American (American Indian)/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) are significantly underrepresented in the U.S. federal science and engineering (S&E) labor force. This underrepresentation extends into the leadership ranks of federal agencies responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining resource monitoring and enforcement programs on tribal lands. Datasets documenting demographics and salaries of the federal S&E workforce show AI/AN are the smallest S&E workforce segment among minorities and receive the lowest average salaries for engineers and physical scientists. Academic statistics show AI/AN students earn significantly fewer engineering and Earth, atmospheric, and ocean science (EA&OS) bachelor's degrees than other ethnic groups and rarely earn advanced degrees in these disciplines. Additional aspects in federal and academic datasets offer clues on a spectrum of causative factors affecting the AI/AN recruitment pool for federal S&E jobs and the rarity of AI/AN ascending to leadership positions with federal scientific organizations.

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