5 Ways to Stop a Black Scientist: Kiera Wilmot’s Arrest

May 14, 2013

When I was 16, I poured different amounts of baking soda into a couple of half-open ketchup containers to see what would happen. The resulting reactions were fascinating. The baking soda reacted with the vinegar in the ketchup to produce carbon dioxide. The pressure built up inside the containers, then spewed out like a crazy ketchup mix once the bottles were opened. After my experiment, I had to clean the tables, apologize for creating a mess, and then was commended for my curiosity. I felt like a scientist. I credit that experiment with playing a significant role in my declaring a science major and completing my undergraduate degree in physical anthropology, biology, and chemistry.

In the United States, one of the greatest challenges in the field of education is related to generating youth interest and participation in science. These challenges are reflected in the endless reports about achievement gaps in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines, lower numbers of students taking advanced science classes, and the general science illiteracy of the population. The low numbers of aspiring scientists are exacerbated when it comes to youth of color, and even more grim when it comes to…

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