About

The Purpose

The aim of the Scientist Who Inspires Me project is to help students gain a better understanding of the diversity in the world of science. Although an important conversation, diversity in science and in all STEM fields isn’t talked about as often as it should be. This project aims to showcase diversity in STEM by letting students engage with the world of science and have a first-hand look at what the STEM field really looks like. It helps them realize that there is diversity in science now and albeit marginalized and downplayed, there always has been. In addition, this project aims to show students the importance of diversity in STEM; to show them the importance of building a healthy environment for anyone who chooses to pursue that path. Finally, it shows how they, as perspective scientists, can work towards making that change.

The Structure

The course-embedded project starts with letting the students choose any scientist; recent or from the past. The scientist could be a part of any STEM field and the only requirement is that they have to be from a minoritized group, or have faced an unusual and often difficult journey in STEM. Students are encouraged to find a scientist that inspires them, which could be through their scientific work, achievements, or even their personal life. Giving the students the chance to do their own research on finding a scientist not only ensures that there will be a variety of scientists talked about, but also gives students a chance to find a scientist they can connect with. Whether it’s a scientist who studied in the students aspiring field or someone they connect to on a more personal level, this project gives students the chance to find someone like them in STEM.

Students then create a short presentation about the scientist. The presentations contain information concerning the personal life of the scientist, but are more focused on the work they contributed to their field and how they got there. Students are asked to give a brief description of the scientists field to help the audience build context for their work. Then they describe one of the major contributions the scientist made, and dicuss how it impacted future discoveries. Students are also encouraged to talk about roadblocks they may have had to face du to discrimination, and/or highlight how they preserve-red through them. Students then record a video presenting their findings.

Lastly, students are given the opportunity to share their presentation with the class if they are comfortable. This give students the opportunity to share their work and their passion for the scientist who inspired them as well as immersing the other students in a better understanding of diversity in STEM. To create our Scientist Who Inspires Me portal, we invite students with high-quality presentations to share their findings with the STEM community more widely.

The Team

Dr. Regan

I am a computational cell biologist with a physics background, growing up in a world where girls traveling to physics competitions would often find themselves the only female on a bus with 40 students (yup, me). I was raised by parents who never once thought that girls could or should not excel in science. My father, a high school teacher of physics, who taught me hot to think, do math, and relate it to the way the world works, told me stories of Marie Curie and the Polgár sisters from Hungary, who played chess with (male) grand masters and won (Judith Polgár achieved grandmaster status before her 16th birthday). Thus, by the time I was told “you think pretty logically for a girl” at a national physics competition in high school, I had the tools to shake it off.

It is my hope that this project can provide similar benefits to our students, who often feel like outsiders in a STEM classroom that looks different from them; where the stories we tell about science can be painfully one-sided.

 

Emily Gao

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Minh Phan

I am a life-long artist, storyteller, and a STEM student who aspires to be a UX designer. Upon finding this project idea on the posting for Sophomore Spring Research program at my school, The College of Wooster, I enthusiastically joined due to my interest in web design and importantly, a great passion with promoting the scholarship of BIPOC contributors. Through helping with constructing the website, I hope to inspire many students to dream and work toward their educational goals and use their diversity – the stigmas they face, the battles they fight, and their unique values as their greatest source of power.

 


Emily Pistorova

I am a student at the College of Wooster pursuing a major in neuroscience. Growing up I was lucky enough to have parents who always encouraged me to engage in subjects like science and math, making sure that I knew that I could and should pursue any hobby, or career later in life that I wanted to. Sadly, not everyone gets to grow up in a home or community that’s as supporting, possibly being in one where they are made to feel as though they do not belong in the STEM community. I wanted to be a part of this project to help create a community where everyone can feel excepted in the STEM field. A safe space where they can truly start to feel like a part of the STEM community and be inspired by so many other scientists who felt the same way they did, but kept on going and didn’t let anyone stop them. A community where can flourish into the scientists that they are meant to be and go out into the world and do great things.

 

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