Brainy Quote of the Day

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Survival Strategies...

Black Youth Project - yes, I signed the pledge (see link)
I've received permission from the author of this paper to post it on this blog. I'm  an advocate of STEM fields, particularly in underrepresented groups, especially when graduate schools are seeing a decline in enrollment from foreign students; those same foreign scholars seen as a boost to the economy. So can minority students: United States citizens. I'm not against immigration of STEM talented or labor workers, but our students are here: now.

The strategies elucidated are not just applicable for graduate school, but the struggle for education and therefore true freedom, a brighter future and self-empowerment ("knowledge is power"), which is beyond one particular subject, or group. I found it enlightening; I hope you do as well, and I sincerely hope it helps inspire action and the next leaders in science.

Survival Strategies for African American Astronomers and Astrophysicists

JC Holbrook, PhD, Astrophysics

University of California, Los Angeles


The question of how to increase the number of women and minorities in astronomy has been approached from several directions in the United States including examination of admission policies, mentoring, and hiring practices. These point to departmental efforts to improve conditions for some of the students which has the overall benefit of improving conditions for all of the students. However, women and minority astronomers have managed to obtain doctorates even within the non-welcoming environment of certain astronomy and physics departments. I present here six strategies used by African American men and women to persevere if not thrive long enough to earn their doctorate. Embedded in this analysis is the idea of ‘astronomy culture’ and experiencing astronomy culture as a cross-cultural experience including elements of culture shock. These survival strategies are not exclusive to this small subpopulation but have been used by majority students, too.

Physics arXiv:
Survival Strategies for African American Astronomers and Astrophysicists
Black Sun: Documentary Film about the 2012 Solar Eclipses

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