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Black History Month Special: An Aspiring STEM Student Says "Never give up."

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Sky is the Limit staff celebrated Black History Month with a freshman from Escondido Union high school district. Our Fireside chat with Cassandra J provided several insights into how the highschool community encourages STEM education and how non-profits like us can help. Hope you enjoy our conversation. Sky is the Limit Staff Member: Hello Cassandra, it's a pleasure to talk to you about your experiences in STEM education in your school. Can you tell us a bit about your personal life and how you got interested in STEM?


Cassandra: Thank you for inviting me to Sky Is The Limit interview series. I am a freshman in Escondido Union. As a child, I loved to solve problems. As I got older, I became more interested in technology, and I realized that I could use these skills to create solutions to real-world problems and make a difference in people's lives.


My interest in STEM developed through my experiences in school and involvement in science and technology clubs and organizations. I also had teachers & mentors who encouraged and motivated me to pursue my interests in STEM, and who provided me with guidance and support along the way.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: Can you tell us a bit about some of the challenges you've faced in the STEM field as a black student?


Cassandra: Of course. As a black student in STEM, I often find that the education materials and curriculum don't always reflect my background and experiences. This can make it difficult for me to connect with the material and feel like I belong in the STEM field.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: How did you tackle these challenges?


Cassandra: I often reach out to my mentors for support. They give me resources to tackle science challenges. This can be anything from finding organizations and clubs that support black students in STEM, to seeking out mentorship opportunities with professionals in STEM who share similar backgrounds and experiences. I also make sure to surround myself with a supportive community of peers who encourage and motivate me to pursue my interests in STEM.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: What advice do you have for other students facing similar difficulties?


Cassandra: My advice for other students facing similar difficulties is to never give up. Even though the materials may not always reflect your background and experiences, you can still find ways to connect with the material and succeed in science & technology. And don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Joining organizations and clubs that celebrate and support underrepresented students in STEM can also be very helpful.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: That's great advice. Can you tell us a bit about your school and how they tackle this challenge of diversity and inclusion in STEM education?


Cassandra: Our school has made a lot of effort to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM education. For example, during Black History Month, we have events and activities that celebrate and educate students on the contributions and achievements of black people in STEM. Our school also has organizations and clubs that support underrepresented students in STEM, and our teachers are very supportive and encouraging of all students pursuing their interests in STEM.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: Why do you think it's important now more than ever to address these challenges and increase diversity and inclusion in STEM education?


Cassandra: I think it's important now more than ever because we are in the middle of technological advances & evolutions. By ensuring that all students, regardless of their background and experiences, have access to and are encouraged to pursue STEM education, we can create a more equitable and diverse STEM community that can drive innovation and progress. Additionally, a more diverse STEM community can help to address the needs and perspectives of a wider range of people, leading to better awareness of STEM careers earlier in life.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: That's fantastic to hear. SKY is the limit as a non-profit organization focusing on enabling STEM education, what kind of help do you think we can provide you and other students like you?


Cassandra: There are several ways that non-profit organizations can help.

Firstly, providing resources and support to students interested in pursuing STEM education and careers is essential. This can include mentorship programs, workshops and training, and access to technology and equipment.


Secondly, promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM education is also important. This can include creating culturally responsive and relevant programs, and advocating for policies that promote equity in STEM education for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic status.


Finally, supporting and empowering teachers to provide high-quality STEM education to their students is also crucial. This can include professional development opportunities, training, and access to resources and materials that they can use in the classroom.


Sky is the Limit Staff Member: Great, thank you for those suggestions, Cassandra. We will definitely consider them as we work to support students and educators in STEM education. Thank you again for speaking with us today and sharing your experiences and insights.


Cassandra: Thank you for having me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and I hope that my story will inspire and motivate others to study STEM & not give up.




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