ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













The Urban Scientist

The Urban Scientist


A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences
The Urban Scientist Home

#NPRBlacksinTech – a conversation about African American participation in American Innovation fields


Email   PrintPrint



NPR Tell Me More Program with Michel Martin has been hosting an on-going conversation about the state of African-American participation in technology, as well as science and engineering field. It began with an on air radio program on November 27, 2013: A Day In The Life: Blacks At The Cutting Edge Of Innovation (Podcast of the program at this link). Each week day in December, @TellMeMoreNPR has hosted 2-3 emerging leaders in tech & science innovation.

Last Friday, December 13, I joined @TellMeMoreNPR (NPR Tell Me More Program with Michel Martin) tweeting about my regular work day at #NPRBlacksinTech along with Jaime Broadnax (@BlackGirlNerds) and Greg Greenlee (@blkintechnology). We answered questions proposed by students from Howard University Middle School asked several great questions of panelists: NPR Blacks In Tech questions.

It was great time. Storify 1: December 13: Day in the Life #NPRBlacksinTech. Storify 2: #NPRBlacksInTech.

There were 5 key questions that students wanted to know from each panelist from the 3 week conversation about Blacks in Technology. Here are my full answers

  1. In middle school and high school what did you do to put yourself ahead of your other counterparts?
    Truth is, I didn’t stand out in junior high and high school. I attended college prep schools which were very competitive academic environments. I worked hard, but I never broke the curve in ANY of my science or math classes. I struggled SO much. You don’t have to be a kid genius to be successful in STEM. We need to spread that word to youth, so that they don’t count themselves out of the game early
  2. Did anyone doubt you?
    In middle and high school – no. Not that I could tell. But when I got to college that was a different story. I experienced not-very-welcoming reactions from some classmates and a few college professors in some of my science classes about my abilities and whether I deserved to be in the classroom or not. I talked in detail about some of this ‘doubt’ with Story Collider not that long ago, My Story Collider Story – Working Twice as Hard.
  3. Do you have a portfolio in the stock market?
    No, I do not. I am still learning many, many things about financial tools. Through my employment as a researcher at a state university I set money aside into a retirement account. However, I will admit that I have not been as aggressive with understanding investment tools and stock market investing as many would recommend. It’s on my to-do list.
  4. What progress do you think African Americans have had since the Civil Rights Movement?
    Our attitudes about post-high school college education has definitely increased. More and more young people reflexively announce that they will attend college after high school graduation. Although I do worry about students being ready for the rigors of college, especially in this poor economic environment. Now is not the time to play around at college if you’re not certain or ready for study.  As it pertains to STEM then we have done much – but keep in mind we were starting from the ground floor.  Civil rights laws and legislation opened up educational and work opportunities (mostly in the government and health care) for African-Americans that had been previously denied to them.  We still have ground to cover, but I’m feeling good about our participation.% African American scientist, NSF report
  5. At this time who do you think is a good role model for children growing up?
    It’s important to look up to many people. There is no single prototype of success. My heros include Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr. Chris Emdin, and Dr. Ayanna Nelson.  But let’s not forget the everyday role models in your family and community. Those people who model positive behaviors and study habits, those who encourage you to try and try again.

 
The conversation isn’t over. On Tuesday, December 17, 2013 2:00 -2:30 pm EST, I will join Michel Martin (host of NPR Tell Me More), Dr. Walter Kimbrough (President of Dillard University), Mark Luckie (Manager of Journalism and Media at Twitter), Lauryn Hale (Facebook), and Christine Johnson (Founder of DiversiTech) for a Google + On Air Hangout. Details here.

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.





Rights & Permissions

Comments 6 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. Uncle.Al 10:45 am 12/17/2013

    Science has one criterion: objective ability. There is no additional noun or adjective that makes a difference.

    There are no sexually harassed Black Muslim lesbian single mother of six intellectually challenged intravenous drug addict with AIDS doing the Macarena in a wheelchair phenoketonuric agoraphobic flugelhorn-playing full professor of statistical mechanics scientists.

    Link to this
  2. 2. DNLee 2:52 pm 12/17/2013

    Yeah, you would know – being all omniscent & all that “There are no sexually harassed Black Muslim lesbian single mother of six intellectually challenged intravenous drug addict with AIDS doing the Macarena in a wheelchair phenoketonuric agoraphobic flugelhorn-playing full professor of statistical mechanics scientists” exists because well because your status & privilege give *you* the right to say so.

    But for anyone who might happen to be “a sexually harassed Black Muslim lesbian single mother of six intellectually challenged intravenous drug addict with AIDS doing the Macarena in a wheelchair phenoketonuric agoraphobic flugelhorn-playing full professor of statistical mechanics scientists” this very much a real part of who they are & their identity.

    And that who “objective ability” is BS. Dr Rubidium says it best: http://www.thejayfk.com/?p=2985.
    Bias, subjectiveness and differential treatment/reactions happen ALL of the time & it impacts WHO gets to participate in science and at what levels.
    Prejudice and discrimination are real and it happens in science, especially in Science, more than many people who care to acknowledge.

    And for anyone want to retort that the experiences of discrimination, intersectional ___isms, etc that I or anyone else doesn’t exist because *YOu* have never experienced/witnessed it, then you can pumps your brakes right now.
    Privilege gets check at this blog.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Cicel_Chérie 3:35 pm 12/17/2013

    my co-worker’s step-aunt makes $76 hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her paycheck was $15245 just working on the internet for a few hours. visit ……… http://WWW.Cash29.COM

    Link to this
  4. 4. Uncle.Al 8:48 pm 12/17/2013

    @DNLee Mediocrity is a vice of the doomed. Ignorance is not a form of knowing things, nor is faith. I am intolerant of stupidity and those who are proud of it, whatever their talents for presentation. Best efforts will not substitute for knowledge – and that includes compulsory degradative egalitarianism, pluralistic ignorance, deformed decisions, reality deficit disorder, tyrannies of immersive falsehoods, social promotion, and halcyon ephemerides of social activist omniscience.

    When all you have is a BNC feedthrough, all of your electrical problems look coaxial.

    Link to this
  5. 5. tuned 12:05 pm 12/18/2013

    George Washington Carver just did it.

    Link to this
  6. 6. rkipling 11:21 pm 12/19/2013

    Uncle.AI,

    I started to write that your comments are pointless, but that isn’t true. You actually make the case for many of Dr. Lee’s views.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>

X

Email this Article

X