As a child, I never imagined that I would one day be standing on stage, sharing my journey in the field of science and engineering with a group of high school females from all ethnicities. But that's exactly where I found myself last week, as a speaker at the SAGE program, sharing my story and encouraging others to follow in my footsteps.
My journey began in college, where I earned a full scholarship in physics during my freshman year. This was a turning point for me, as it opened doors that I never thought were possible. From there, I landed an internship at NASA, an experience that changed my life in more ways than one. Not only did it solidify my passion for physics, but it also boosted my confidence as a scientist.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue graduate school, and eventually landed my first job at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. But my career didn't stop there. Today, I work as an accelerator physicist and have the opportunity to work on a project that is not only groundbreaking for science but also for society at large, I am currently on a team is trying to build the first synchrotron in Africa.
Throughout my career, I have faced the unique challenges that come with being a black male in STEM. But I have also been fortunate to have mentors and supporters who have helped me to overcome those challenges. I have made it a priority to give back to my community and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, particularly those from underrepresented groups. I have been involved in various non-profit organizations, and I also started an employee resource group at SLAC National Laboratory to support and empower underrepresented groups in the workplace.
As I stood on stage, looking out at the faces of the young women in the audience, I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride and responsibility. I knew that my story could inspire them to pursue their own dreams, despite any obstacles they may face. And judging from the questions and feedback I received, it seemed that my message resonated with them.
I left the SAGE program feeling energized and motivated, knowing that I had made a positive impact on the next generation of STEM leaders. And I hope that my story will inspire others, particularly young black males and females from underrepresented backgrounds, to pursue careers in science and engineering. Because when we break barriers and shatter stereotypes, we open up a world of possibilities for ourselves and for those who come after us.