“When I walk into a room, I’m Black. When I walk into a room, I’m a woman. When I walk into a room, I’m a Black woman. Different people process these things differently. Historically Black people have been perceived as less intelligent, and even though physics is considered an elite intellectual pursuit, there are some who believe that Black physicists are in the field or in their jobs only because of affirmative action or because of luck. … Add to that my disability, and some have questioned whether I have the intellectual capacity to be in physics.” – Dr. Renee Horton, NASA engineer

Chih-ing lim's headshotby
Chih-Ing Lim,  PhD.
Co-director of the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center (STEMIE)

Professor Kimberle Crenshaw first coined the term ‘intersectionality’ in 1989 to provide a frame to describe and address the overlapping connection of social categories such as race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and how social injustices, discrimination and oppression can come with each and every part of a person’s multiple identities. Within the field of STEM, women, Black and Hispanic people, as well as individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in more advanced STEM courses in high school (Office of Civil Rights) as well as in STEM careers (Martinez & Gayfield, 2019; Office of Civil Rights, 2018; Burgstahler, n.d.). Individuals with disabilities who have intersecting identities such as being a person of color, being a woman, living in poverty or in rural areas are most underrepresented in STEM fields (Burgstahler, n.d.).

We would like to ask you to take a moment to explore the following resources developed by Dr. Renee Horton. These resources share more about her lived experiences and we hope will help you to center intersectionality within your own practice:

  • Read her blog post (about 2-minute read), The disability is there, but I belong (scitation.org), which explains how the intersectionality of her race, gender, and disability has impacted her career navigation in STEM.
  • Watch an 8-minute video where she shares the challenges and supports she has faced as a Black woman with disabilities in STEM


Burgstahler, S. (n.d.). Increasing the Representation of People with Disabilities in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. https://www.washington.edu/doit/overview-and-access-issues

Martinez, A. & Gayfield, A. (2019). The Intersectionality of Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin in the STEM Workforce. U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/working-papers/2019/demo/sehsd-wp2018-27.pdf

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (2018). 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection: STEM Course Taking. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/stem-course-taking.pdf

Credit: Thanks to Dr Renee Horton for giving us permission to share her blog post and video.


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of stem4ec to add comments!

Join stem4ec


Hello and welcome to the STEM4EC Community.  We invite your participation.

Read More >

Flo is now a member of stem4ec
Jan 24
inifanadunia is now a member of stem4ec
Jan 23
Jenny Ingber is now a member of stem4ec
Jan 3
LeighAn Fifer is now a member of stem4ec
Dec 28, 2022
Christine Chaille is now a member of stem4ec
Dec 13, 2022
Melissa Rosenfeld, Kathy Scott and MIA COVIC joined stem4ec
Dec 8, 2022
adasd posted a status
Dec 6, 2022
adasd is now a member of stem4ec
Dec 6, 2022
Becky Handler, Nora Carrizales and hutananak35 joined stem4ec
Dec 5, 2022
Mallory Judkins is now a member of stem4ec
Dec 2, 2022
Ellie Strbo is now a member of stem4ec
Nov 30, 2022
Dushel Tesla is now a member of stem4ec
Nov 15, 2022
Lisa Donnelly is now a member of stem4ec
Nov 4, 2022
STEMIE Center posted a blog post
STEAM is a vehicle for children's social emotion development. Read the blog post and learn how to suppor children's problem solving skills within STEAM learning activities.

Dr. Yvette Mere-Cook works as a Child Development Demonstration Lecturer…
Oct 24, 2022
STEMIE Center posted a blog post
Read the blog post and learn how to use project approach to support inclusive early STEM learning! 

By Sallee Beneke
Project work is an approach to learning that can support inclusion of diverse learners. A project is an in-depth investigation of a…
Sep 25, 2022
Marc Baxter, Liz B and Shannon Olson joined stem4ec
Sep 7, 2022

Community Guidelines and Privacy Statement