Statistics on underrepresented minorities show that blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians earn only 2.1%, 3.3%, and 0.6%, respectively, of the PhDs awarded annually in the physical sciences. Various organizations have been trying for many years to increase the representation of minorities in the geosciences. A 2005 report by the American Geophysical Union and the American Geological Institute stated that less than 4% of PhDs in the geosciences were earned by minorities over the previous five years. The report also said that in the period 1973–2003, only 313 Hispanic Americans, 135 African Americans, and 49 Native Americans earned PhDs in any of the geosciences, which include Earth, atmospheric, and ocean science. NSF data for the period 1973–2005 show that 16 061 geoscience PhDs went to US citizens and permanent residents.

Several committees and special task forces have published studies and reports about diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and...

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