Why Did I Become a Scientist?
I discovered, quite by accident, that science allowed me to direct my own path. I'm interested in lots of questions about the natural world. During my undergraduate years, I asked all of my science professors "Why is that?" "How does that happen?" Yes, they were able to answer most of my questions, but what I learned in graduate school - from my professors - was how to answer my own questions. I find that very empowering. I know of very few professional fields were it is perfectly acceptable to pursue your own interests - for pay.
I believe my prompt into science began even as a child. I loved being outside and being a rather precocious child, I was very observant of the landscape. But what I consider my catalyzing experience was the arrival of Haley's Comet in 1984. I was mesmerized by the sky. My mother took me to the Planetarium. I checked out books. I was just so excited about this once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event that I even scribbled fake constellations on my school notebooks. In junior high, I went on a science trip to the Ozark Mountains and I was wide-eyed! Stalactites and Stalagmites were my new favorite words. By age 13, it was official. I was hooked on everything science.
Now my interest in science is beyond science itself. I enjoy outreach. That's why I blog. Seldom does the public get the opportunity to see Black scientists. Some people don't even know of the existence of scientists that aren't European or Asian. Perhaps that is why so many Black youth don't see science careers as real opportunities for themselves. But science offers many opportunities.Below are links to two short videos from AAAS Science Careers featuring two Black Scientists about why they became scientists. Please enjoy and feel free to share your story.