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The Urban Scientist


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The Root 100 2012: Nominate Black Scientists & Engineers

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Last week, I issued a call out to the internet universe to Identify the Top STEM Professionals of Color.  I was heartened. So many people reached out – via Twitter, email and in the comments to share names of scientists and organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).  It seems there were others on the same page, too. (TressieMC is creating lists of Scholars of Color on Twitter by discipline. Check her post and offer some input, please).   I’ve the beginnings of what a list of individuals, people on twitter, science and engineering blogs, and organizations who promote diversity and inclusion in STEM.

Then I read that The Root (a daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today’s news from a variety of black perspective) is seeking nominations for The Root 100 2012. Each year The Root 100 identifies the most influential African Americans, 45 and under. They are seeking nominees of exceptional achievement from any field who live and work in the United States. Special consideration is given to their achievements over the past year.

Since 2009, the online magazine has published a list of the most influential young professional African-Americans.  Lists like these are  service to its readers.  Especially for media markets that serve specific demographics, they provide a roster of role models for communities and young people to emulate.  I tend to be a little hard on Black Media organizations for not giving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and education as much coverage as political or entertainment stories (here and here for example).  It’s all in love, I promise, which is why I am very happy to announce that the Root has an open call for nominations for the upcoming Root 100 list: The Root 100: Nominate Black Trailblazers Now.  And I am beyond proud of them of their inclusion of Science & Technology as professional field they wish to represent in The Root 100 2012 list. Hooray!

This mission I’ve been on feels so divinely destined right now. Here’s a perfect chance to put passions and words to action.  And I hope you join me.  Thanks to your input I have a list of folks that are worthy of nomination. This list is certainly not exhaustive and I cannot attest to anyone’s age.

Under the radar: African-American Scientists, Engineers, & Innovators

Dr Erich Jarvis

Dr. Erich Jarvis, Neurobiologist, Animal Behavior scientist Thesis w/Children  did a blog post about him.

Dr. Ashanti Pyrtle is a Chemical oceanographer and Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.  Sciencewomen wrote a post about her in 2009.

Dr. Estella Atekwana is a Biogeophysicist here at Oklahoma State University (wow, I’m looking her up tomorrow morning).  Under the Microscope did a very good profile of her and her research.

Dr. Tyrone Hayes is a Biologist and Hip Hop Scientist. Oysters Garter did a blog post on him and his very interesting work in environmental ecology and endocrine disruption in frogs.

Dr. Shaundra Daily, Computer Scientist. While she was completing her dissertation, Under the Microscope interviewed her and shared her interest in science and math.

Dr. Katherine Okikolu

Dr. Katherine Okikolu, Associate Professor of Mathematics University of California at San Diego.  Canadian GirlPostdoc in America did a blog post about her.

Dr. Chris Emdin, profiled in my post: Hip Hop Education defined: Dr Chris Emdin speaks at TEDxNYED

Akiima Price and Dr. Tommy Parker, I introduced readers to them as well as  Dr. Stewart Pickett, Dr. Charles Nilon in a post about Black Urban Ecologists

Towika Smith, Engineer and Science Education Social Entrepreneur. I wrote a blog post about her STEM education and career exposure program in the San Francisco Bay area and Atlanta.

Dr. Paul Jackson is a Computer Engineer in the Seattle, Washington area. He is also a documentary filmmaker and social media evangelist.

Dr. Sossina Haile is a Professor of Materials Science and of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.  She studies Solid-state Ionics which has very important applications in batteries and fuel cells.  You can learn more about her research and its real world applications at her university web page.

Dr. Peter Green is a Material Science Engineer and is a Professor and Department Chair in Material Science & Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Princess Imoukhuede

Dr. Princess Imoukhuede is a Bioengineer at the University of Illinois who studies clinically relevant questions in cancer and cardiovascular disease.  You can learn more about her research at her university profile page.

Dr. Paula Hammond a Full Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studies what I call, very small things that make a big difference.  She and her students research small macromolecular design and synthesis. Learn more about her research and the real world applications at her web page.

Dr. Kristala Prather is a Chemical Engineer, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studies synthetic biology in order to build microbial chemical factories. Her journey to science and engineering is an interesting one. You can visit her university web page as well as her interview at Science360.

 

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Others have compiled list of African-American Scientists, Technologists, and Engineers.  It’s my hope that you will check out these pages, discover scientific and engineering talent and nominated many of them for the Root 100 list and other recognitions as applicable.

Dr. Bryant York, a Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University has a web page that highlights the interesting work of young African-American Computer Scientists.

STEMINIST is a website that aggregates and features stories about women in STEM from across the web.  They have an awesome series: STEMINIST Profiles where they interview women in science.

Under the Microscope is another great website dedicated connecting girls and women to STEM.  They also have a very large catalog of women scientists and engineers sharing their stories.

Bashir – a fellow science blogger, compiled a nice list of African-American scientists. Always Bet on Black is a hyper-linked list of over a dozen scientists you may not know.

The Diversity in Science Carnivals have hosted 3 Black History Month editions.  Each edition featured many up-and-coming STEM professionals from a wide variety of career fields.
Black History Month Carnival 2009
Black History Month Carnival 2010
Black History Month Carnival 2012

Stay tuned. Tomorrow I share my list of Black STEM Bloggers and Tweeters.

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Fanandala 3:37 pm 06/11/2012

    I feel this is just a form of very blatant racism. But while you are at it, mention the Indian, Chinese, Jewish and German scientists as well, I am sure you can think of another 100 or so groups. How insecure are you guys?

    Link to this
  2. 2. DNLee 11:01 am 06/12/2012

    First, let me iterate my comment policy.
    My blog is my home and I have an open-door policy. Anyone may come in any time. Each post is a conversation topic and you may weigh in anytime. Guests of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. Therefore I insist on polite, mannerable, and respectful dialogue. Watch the language. Watch the tone. And because this is my home, not yours, no one talks crazy to me (or my guests). You will be invited to leave>

    Now, on to you Fanandala.
    You can feel anyway you want. However, neither this post nor the Root 100 list is an example of blatant racism. (I’m not sure what you are objecting to).

    Racism is the idea that different groups are inherently different from one another such that one group is special (better) than another. Neither I nor The Root are implying that.

    But since you dropped by MY page, you may have missed the fact that I write quite often (and proudly) about diversity and inclusion in the sciences and about outreach to/attraction and retention of minorities to the sciences.

    I understand that discussing race or class can make many people uncomfortable. I also know that I can be cheeky when I confront individuals/institutions/ideals about unfairness, injustice, intolerance, and use/abuse of privilege. Your statements will not quiet my voice or change direction of my blog.

    Link to this
  3. 3. IncredibleMouse 7:50 pm 06/13/2012

    ^^ Bravo, DNLee. I made my nomination. :)

    Link to this
  4. 4. DNLee 10:35 am 06/18/2012

    Yea! I’m glad to hear that Incredible Mouse!!!

    Link to this

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