by Jedidah Isler, Ph.D.
This is a bittersweet post. On the one hand, we’re buzzing with excitement because the season 3 premiere of #VanguardSTEM is just (over) 24 hours away! We’ve done so much prep work over the summer and with our content in the last 6 weeks to set the stage for this conversation. AND we have two very special guests to help us open what we think will be another informative, exciting, relevant and timely season of #VanguardSTEM: Dr. Danielle Lee, who was our #WCWinSTEM last week, and Mr. Shareef Jackson, our #MCMinSTEM for today (more on that later…), are sure to drop SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE. It is not to be missed and we’re bursting at the seams to share what we’ve cooked up.
On the other hand, the subject matter we’ve been focusing on (and their catalysts) are weighty and fraught. We’re extending our ongoing conversation about “Burnout, Bravery and Being a Woman of Color in STEM” (#BBBinSTEM) in scope to cover the topic of racial trauma burnout that arises when aspects of our identity seem to be under attack in society (and in the scientific enterprise), yet we are expected to carry on as if nothing is happening. Our season 2 finale featured Dr. Shine Chang, who told us about the three signs of academic/professional burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and [diminished] personal accomplishment, which — we noticed — have been ubiquitous in the conversation about police brutality in society, and especially communities of color.
As such, we thought it important to talk through the toll these larger societal tragedies take on us as we try to science and otherwise pursue our passions. Many of you participated in our ongoing #BBBinSTEM conversations on social media and several thinkpieces have been published on #VanguardSTEM contending with these topics. Tomorrow we’ll have an open and honest conversation with two very vocal members of the #VanguardSTEM and #BLACKandSTEM communities. We’re teaming up with #BLACKandSTEM* for this episode to bring in a black male perspective on trying to science in an often toxic and too often fatal society for men (and women) of color. While we’ve spent a lot of time working through these experiences as women of color, we do not ignore the additional concern we share for our men of color, and the concern they have for themselves and for us. This (intraracial) ebb and flow of concern is as much a part of the pressure and burnout as one’s own concern for their personal safety.
As a result, we’re making our first #MCMinSTEM Mr. Shareef Jackson.
Shareef has been obsessed with technology ever since he was a child, disassembling remote controls and driving his parents crazy. His views on science and technology have been featured on sources such as NPR, Scientific American, NASA TV and This Week in Blackness. His science blog at ShareefJackson.com has won the Black Weblog Award for Best Science and Technology Blog in 2012 and 2013.
By using the tagline #ScienceLooksGood, Shareef breaks down science in a way that the average person can understand. Shareef has been able to attend several events including the Consumer Electronics Show and the final launch of NASA’s space shuttle program. Shareef has helped to interview gaming luminaries such as Adam Sessler and Jeff Canatta on the Spawn on Me podcast, which spotlights people of color in gaming. He highlights issues of gender and race on his YouTube series at GamingLooksGood.com. He’s also been a vocal advocate of the importance and benefit of mental health for people of color. Find out more about Shareef at the following places:
Please help us celebrate Shareef and usher in our new season tomorrow. Please do join us tomorrow, Tuesday, August 9 at 7pm EST.
*Big thanks to Dr. Stephani Page for suggesting that we extend the burnout conversation to include black men and for suggesting we connect with Mr. Shareef Jackson. We’re excited to collaborate with #BlackandSTEM on the season 3 premiere of #VanguardSTEM.
Copyright © 2016 by Jedidah Isler
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