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