Movie Aims to Inspire College Students With Tales of Successful Minority Scientists
Posted on September 30, 2009 Comments (2)
African American women are still rare in many science professions, despite their increasing representation in undergraduate science classes. The documentary – Roots to STEM: Spelman Women in Science—seeks to explore how these women were able to succeed and to hold them up as role models.
Tarsha Ward remembers begging her mother for a stethoscope so she could be the star of career day at her kindergarten class in Charleston, S.C. Her mother presented her with something that proved more prophetic: a white lab coat.
“For me that was the beginning of a career,” said Ward, who is working toward her doctorate in biomedical sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., focused on cancer research. “Ever since then everything was about science.”
“If you get into a bind you have to think it out yourself,” she said. “A Ph.D. has really taught me to think on my own. You’re here thinking in the midnight hours and there’s no book to tell you what’s right. You just have to see if it works.”
Such struggles have already paid off. “In seven months, I published my first paper. I worked on it day and night,” said Ward, a 2004 Spelman graduate. “I (loved) the fact that I could find something no one else could find and actually publish it.”
Related: Documentary on 5 Women Majoring in Science and Math at Ohio State – National Girls Collaborative Project for STEM – Women Working in Science – Women Choosing Other Fields Over Engineering and Math – HHMI Expands Support of Postdoctoral Scientists