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President's Letter December 2022

Posted on Monday, December 19, 2022

Dear ARCS Friends,

ARCS Foundation continually looks to outside sources to understand attitudes toward science. 3M is a company that started as a small-scale mining venture in 1902 in Northern Minnesota and is now a global powerhouse where its products improve the daily lives of people around the world.
Since 2018, 3M commissioned a third party to track and explore global attitudes about science. This enables 3M to track and benchmark shifts in attitudes about science over time.  The survey was conducted in seventeen countries among 1,000 general population in each country. In the survey, the US sample was expanded to include 500 Gen Z (16-24), 500 Black Americans, and 500 Hispanic Americans to explore results in more granular ways.
This year, the Index underscores the major societal issues tied to science, including misinformation and disinformation, STEM equality, health equity, and sustainability. The views and attitudes of American participants differ from the global findings. You can learn about the global report HERE.
The US findings on the 3M survey reveal these takeaways:

  • Americans’ trust in science is strong, but disinformation poses a threat.
    • Disinformation on social media (92%) and traditional news (78%) is threatening scientific credibility.
    • 82% of Americans want to hear from scientists directly.
  • Social impact is the next big opportunity for science.
    • STEM equity needs significant work in the US
      • 87% feel it is important to increase DEI in STEM fields
      • 69% feel underrepresented minorities do not have equal access to STEM education.
      • US populations say bias and prejudice against ethnic and racial minorities are barriers to accessing a strong STEM education.
    • Sustainability and health equity are top issues Americans want science to solve beyond the pandemic.
      • 61% clean water supply
      • 53% air quality
      • 50% equal access to quality healthcare
      • 48% climate change
    • In the US, cures for chronic diseases (68%), cancer treatments (57%) and, mental and emotional health issues (56%) are more urgent priorities for science than vaccines for future pandemics (50%).
    • Most Americans fear displacement due to extreme weather.
      • U.S. average: 69%, U.S. Gen Z: 79%, U.S. Millennials: 85%, US Black: 79%, US Hispanic: 76%
  • Americans are optimistic about future innovations and the role of science in society.
    • Many Americans expect self-driving cars and space travel to become a part of everyday life within the next decade.

Other interesting takeaways:

  • 81% say women are a source of untapped potential in the STEM workforce.
  • Over the past five years, the importance of science to everyday life has risen eight percentage points. 52% say science is very important to their everyday lives in 2022, vs 44% in 2018.

The report only confirms ARCS Foundation's vision is more relevant than ever as we reimagine the future of our organization.
Revealing a few of ARCS Foundation's highlights in 2022 . . .

  • Received $2 million transformational gift from the Silver Family Foundation that will be used to support National’s highest priorities
  • National began the process to author a new strategic plan by conducting an organization-wide SWOT Analysis exercise and hiring a consultant
  • After over two years of planning and replanning due to the pandemic, the All Members Conference was held in Atlanta in October
  • ARCS Hall of Fame Inductee, David A. Dixon, was recognized for his groundbreaking work in computational chemistry and for leadership in developing chlorofluorocarbon alternatives that have restored and saved the stratospheric ozone layers 
  • The University of California, Merced was approved for ARCS support
  • New STEM programs were approved at Arizona State University; Northern California University; University of California, Merced; University of Pittsburgh; and the University of Minnesota
  • National Board approved the DEI Director and Standing Committee that will address how DEI impacts our membership, scholars, universities, and funders
  • Two ARCS chapters marked significant anniversaries: Illinois (45 years) and Atlanta (30 years)
  • The Seattle Chapter received its largest endowment pledge of $1.65 million
  • The Colorado Chapter was recognized as an Outstanding Service Organization by the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Now that we’re all feeling more comfortable traveling, I attended the Minnesota Chapter’s scholar event.  It was inspiring to meet the scholars, hear about their research, hear how ARCS impacted them, and meet many of the members and university VIPs. Not only is the financial support important to the scholars, but they praise the community of support they receive from members and are grateful for the instant network of other ARCS scholars across the nation. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!
This is the season to be thankful and appreciate others. Thank you all for your time, talent, and treasure as we continue to Advance Science in America. May you have a relaxing, healthy, and joyful holiday season!
Caron Ogg
National President

ARCS National President Caron Ogg