07/24 #BLACKandSTEM

This week’s #BLACKandSTEM features , geologist and educator, Ta-Shana Taylor and her physical science students!  Ms. Taylor also runs her own blog, blackgeoscientists.com.  Follow @TashanaTaylor and @BlackGeoRocks on twitter. 

Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Eckard, Mrs. Knox, Mr. Ray, Mrs. Hucks, Mrs. Sturdivant, Ms. Owens.  When I think of the teachers who had major impacts in my K-12 life, I find myself very grateful.  They made a difference.  Knowing my own journey to PhD candidacy in a STEM field, I am especially grateful to those teachers who sewed the seeds of science, math, and possibilities.

Here is the story of one of Tashana Taylor’s students:

One of the most influential teachers I have ever met has to have been my Pre-Calculus teacher Dr. Delva. During my junior year in high school I had no plans for graduation. The idea of attending college had not even crossed my mind. Dr. Delva had a goal for all of her students to achieve a secondary education. Not only did she promote intelligence and career advancement but she showed us the value of Greek life, social organizations, and philanthropy. Dr. Delva assisted me in the application process and even wrote me a few letters of recommendation. My new found passion to attend college had even allowed me to obtain higher grade letters in order to become a more competitive applicant. Thanks to Dr. Delva, a University of Florida Alumni, I will be attending the University of Florida spring of 2015! Teacher and student relationships can be the most life changing experiences and may even be necessary for K-12 students to become successful in today’s society. -S.S.

And more quotes from her class:

A percentage of students graduate without being proficient in math, science and engineering. Due to this wide range of problem, many students and [myself] owe it to the k-12 STEM teachers because of their on going influential academic supports that they provide to all students. – E.J.

…as I sat in my first science class in America, my teacher Mr. Ponkey automatically made me feel at ease. Not only did he go out of his way to make sure I didn’t get lost in the crowd, he also spoke my native language, French. It certainly took me a while to get accustomed but Mr. Ponkey offered to tutor me after school as well as spend one on one time with me during class to make sure I understood the material. He didn’t only help me succeed in English, but he also introduced me to the amazing field of science. – M.T. 

I, myself, on numerous occasions recall the struggles I endured in high school, trying just to understand the basics of Mathematics. As the struggle continued, it took a toll on my grades, many times leaving me to pass barely with a “C”. Until my senior year, I was given a math teacher by the name of Frantz Lalanne, who was determined to teach what many would not. – R.L.

For today’s #BLACKandSTEM, let’s share our stories on the K-12 teachers who influenced us and impacted our journeys to STEM.  Let’s engage with Ms. Taylor’s students and answer any questions they may have for us.

In addition to using the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag, Ms. Taylor’s students will use the #stu hashtag.  If you are an educator, encourage your students to participate also!


#BLACKandSTEM, What is your Endgame?

Today’s blog post and question for #BLACKandSTEM are the brain and heart child of a friend and mentor, Michael Johnson.  Briefly, Michael earned his PhD in Biochemistry & Biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He is currently a postodoctoral fellow at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Dr. Johnson runs his own science blog, BlackScienceBlog

Michael is a wonderful husband and father of two little girls.

Follow Michael on twitter @blacksciblog

So I was thinking, what is the endgame of #BLACKandSTEM. Well, first we need to understand some of the layers behind what the rally cry hashtag means to you. Is it seeing who is out there? What they do? To feel supported in your scientific craft? It probably means something slightly different to everyone, but one thing is for certain, it represents a wonderful and supportive community. So back to the original question, what is the endgame? Here is a little anecdote about what I mean.

When you do an experiment, how do you conduct it? You form a hypothesis and you test variables to see if that hypothesis is correct. The endpoint is only as good as how you test for it. In the end, “the data is the data.” Now this is a great way to find out new things, but not necessary the approach I would take to #BLACKandSTEM in relationship to the end game.

Now, how do you write a paper? What I do is I take the results from the experiments that I have done and I put them in an order to tell a story, a story for which I already have a conclusion. So I make figure 1 a-d, figure 2 a-c, figure 3 a, c, and d (I need to clean up “b”) and so on. The point is, it is a lot easier to do those clean up experiments when I know the end of the story I want to tell.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are the experiments, what is our paper? Our story? What vision do you have for #BLACKandSTEM. What figures do you have in place to make that story a possibility? How can we all contribute those clean up figures to that story so that we can reach our endgame?

First, we must know what our endgame is. Mine is to be a professor so that my presence and science will (not might, WILL) motivate a generation of people interested in science; a diversity and passion that will spark people to want to know more about science. My endgame is when other people get there, but my figure 2 is getting there myself.

So, what is your endgame, where do you see this movement going, and how can the #BLACKandSTEM community help?

-Michael Johnson @blacksciblog

07/10/14 #BLACKandSTEM

You might be pulling your hair out over the state of our nation’s government.  Apparently, Congress is the most divided it’s ever been, which means that a lot of important legislation is stalled.  And, remember that shutdown last year?

These circumstances demand that we make our voices heard.

Today’s chat will focus directly on matters regarding STEM.

From attempts by Congress to regulate the peer review process to Supreme Court decisions that are based on a severe lack of knowledge of science and technology, there is a pressing need to make our voices heard – not just regarding policies that impact the Black community, but also, given our collective expertise, on policies that impact STEM overall.

We, the #BLACKandSTEM, have a lot on the table.

To start the converation, one question:  What STEM-related legislative action do you want to see passed or thwarted in Congress?

The goals of this chat are to:

  1. Share perspectives regarding legislation that impacts STEM fields including jobs, funding, regulation, etc
  2. Share opportunities for getting involved
  3. Enhance the understanding of our role in impacting policy at all levels and branches of government

Remember to use the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag!

The Most Popular #BLACKandSTEM chats?

I was recently asked about the most popular #BLACKandSTEM chat. It can be tough to pick, so I decided to just use the analytics of the different applications that I use to guide me.  Click the hyperlinks to go to the storify’s.

  1. Roll calls – anytime I ask the #BLACKandSTEM community to say who they are and what they do Roll call #1, Roll call #2
  2. Tweet a pic of you being #BLACKandSTEM – self explanatory storify
  3. Anything asking #BLACKandSTEMers to share their educational background – also self explanatory – Name your institutions, Did you HBCU?
  4. Side hustle – what do #BLACKandSTEMers do away from their day jobs – storify