Great Day, Science in the City Friends!

How did you get involved with Science in the City?

I got a special request from Mrs. Carlson and I was also asked directly by Davis [Verhoeven] and it was proposed to me from the outset that it was going to be targeted towards students of color and other students who were underrepresented in the sciences. One of the things that I’m definitely in favor of is getting more representation of those groups in any kind of science field.

What’s been your favorite part of SitC?

Seeing how student directed it is. That students are really taken the reigns and are wanting to have ownership and control over what’s being done. I’ve been a part of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) for a long time and one of the things I appreciated about [it] was that students were allowed to take the reigns. Now granted it was college students but still the adults were, in the case of NSBE those who had graduated from college, weren’t trying to force the students to adhere to what they wanted to do. They were allowing them to take the reigns. So I appreciate that SitC is really about preparing students to take the reigns of not just organizations like this but take the reigns of their education and really be the engineers of the experiences they want to have.

How would you describe your role in SitC?

I think my primary role is to answer questions, be a support, and then sit back and stay out of the way.

So you kind of touched on this earlier but how would you explain the overall purpose of Science in the City in general?

To me Science in the City is an opportunity for students to become acquainted with how science really works. The fact that it’s not just a scientist in a lab coat in a lab blowing things. Science is in every aspect of our daily lives and giving students the opportunity to realize that they can be scientists without having to be constrained by traditional ideas of what a scientist is. I think that’s just liberating because it just opens more doors for students to be like, “Oh, I don’t necessarily have to go work in a lab but I can get an engineering degree and do something totally amazing. I can run my own company. I can work for whatever company that I think I might wanna work for and I can have that engineering degree. Or I don’t have to get an engineering degree and I can still work in science. Whatever the case may be I just think it opens more doors.

What are you looking forward to do in Science in the City.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how students manifest their ability to create. I think there’s so many different ways that they can do these presentations that they’re going to end up doing and I’m really eager to see what they come up with. Cause I just think there’s so much creativity that especially students of color just don’t have the opportunity to express because often times students are just restricted by what’s expected of them. You need to be able to get this grade so you have to conform to what the teacher wants and that stifles creativity. So I’m looking forward to seeing what they create when they’re not given a bunch of constraints.

Many thanks to Ms. Lowe for the opportunity to interview her. I’ll see you in the next post for some more Science in the City fun!

Sincerely,

Vijay Williams

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