In this episode we travel back to the SACNAS National Convention. SACNAS stands for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and is the largest STEM society dedicated to racial and ethnic inclusion.
This year we speak to many scientists about new ideas in their field and our place in academia. Enjoy these amazing stories of struggle and support.
Part 1 guests: Charee Peters (Astrophysics graduate student), Dominque Butler (model & astronomy student) & Natasha Berryman (Neuroscience graduate student & Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard STEM).
Special thanks to our guests & SACNAS
Image Courtesy of SACNAS
Click Here for Transcript
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: This is Regina Barber DeGraaff, host of Spark Science, and you are listening to our episode about new science ideas and inclusive education. We recorded on location at the SACNAS convention in Long Beach, California.
>> Here we go.
[? Blackalicious rapping Chemical Calisthenics ?]
? Neutron, proton, mass defect, lyrical oxidation, yo irrelevant
? Mass spectrograph, pure electron volt, atomic energy erupting
? As I get all open on betatron, gamma rays thermo cracking
? Cyclotron and any and every mic
? You’re on trans iridium, if you’re always uranium
? Molecules, spontaneous combustion, pow
? Law of de-fi-nite pro-por-tion, gain-ing weight
? I’m every element around
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: So I’m here at SACNAS, SACNAS National Convention, here in Long Beach, California. Me and my friends are just wiped out because there is just so much goodness and overwhelming science and overwhelming support and overwhelming inclusion that it’s just been great. So I’m here with Charee and I’m going to let her say her full name, tell us what she does, and we’re going to get our conversation started.
>> Charee Peters: So my name is Charee Peters. I am a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Madison. I’m currently in my 4th year there, but I have two master’s degrees before that and I am a radio astronomer. So I am currently looking at things that go bump in the night. So all of these cool things that are extremely energetic in the universe that are changing in brightness over time.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: That sounds amazing. My student actually went to your talk a couple days ago and said it was amazing. Before we get into like what that entails, I kind of just want to really quickly talk about this convention and why you’re here and how you feel about this convention and this organization.
>> Charee Peters: Excellent. So SACNAS is one of my favorite societies in general as a scientist. It is a place where I first found a connection to a group of people who I don’t normally see in the sciences on a daily basis and that is, you know, Chicanos, Hispanics, and Native Americans. So I myself am Native American. I’m Yankton Sioux.
And SACNAS, when I came to my first meeting, I was an undergraduate. I think I was a sophomore. And it was the first time that I had really had the opportunity to talk to other people that look like me and had similar experiences. And, as I’ve continued to come to SACNAS conferences, I’ve been able to not only create these great networks for people to understand what it means to be a person of color in the sciences, but it’s also a place like where you can help other people too.
It’s also a really amazing place to talk about your research and hear other research. Especially in the last couple of years, SACNAS has really transformed for the physics and astronomy community. And so we have some amazing talks and some of the most iconic people in astronomy giving talks here.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: And it’s great at least for me to see these instrumental, these influential astronomers and astrophysicists come here and make a statement that they care about inclusion in science and in STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math.
I always ask my people that I am interviewing, I ask them about a story that they maybe tell at a party or something that — at a party that maybe that isn’t full of other scientists and kind of trying to get people interested in their own science or maybe science in general.
>> Charee Peters: Yeah. So when I’m at parties, I like to, you know, talk to people about my research because that’s what I’m the most excited about at the moment. And the way that I do that is I like to talk through analogies.
So, as I said at the beginning, I am a radio astronomer who looks at things that go bump in the night, but what I really, really mean by this is the most energetic phenomena in the universe including things like dying stars that are exploding, which we call supernovae, or black holes that are ripping apart stars, we call these tidal disruption events, or super massive black holes at the centers of galaxies that have massive jets getting shot out called active galactic nuclei.
So all these things are extremely, extremely energetic. They shine brighter than, you know, a galaxy just filled with all these billions of stars. And a single star can outshine all of that. And that’s what I get to look at. So because these events are giving off so much energy, they fade out over time or they have changes in brightness over time and what I get to do is look at those things. So all the things that go bump in the night.
I get to do this through a survey called CHILES, which is —
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Not the restaurant.
>> Charee Peters: Not the restaurant [laughing]. So this is a survey that’s being done at the very large array out in Socorro, New Mexico. And what we do is we are staring at a very small piece of the sky and we’re looking at it for 1,000 hours that are — like done over about four to five years. I get to look at every single little observation that we do because we can’t do all 1,000 hours at the same time.
So each observation we call an epoch. And what I do is I make images for every single one of those epochs and then I compare them to pick out, you know, what objects are changing in brightness. And so I go through and I get to look and characterize how that light is changing over time, ultimately to hopefully classify some of these objects so that, if we just see how the light is changing over time in other surveys, to say, “Oh, that’s clearly a supernova, or that’s a tidal disruption event, or that’s an active galactic nuclei.”
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: For our listeners that like maybe don’t know a lot about astronomy, when we’re talking about radio astronomy, we’re talking about light, you know, radio waves are still light. It’s still part of the electromagnetic spectrum. So when you say “brightness” you can still see that in radio waves.
>> Charee Peters: Yes. Great to clarify that. Yes. But there are people who do this as well in other wavelengths so including the visual, you know, optical light that we see with our eyes, X-rays, for example. So every single time that you look at a different wavelength, you’re getting new information. So with radio, we’re getting information about what we call shocks, or accelerated particles. So it’s just a new — or not necessarily new — but just another way of looking at some different physical things that are happening in the universe.
Like I said, I like to talk with analogies and it’s my research so, during my first master’s degree, I got to do a really cool experiment, which was what I like to call Stellar Forensic Science. So what this is is, when we have, you know, exploding of stars like supernovae, they eject out all this material over time into what we call supernova remanence. And so I like to think of these supernova remanence as the dead bodies of stars. And so I was looking at how asymmetric or symmetric these supernova remanence were to kind of look back at the explosion mechanism or how they died.
So I was looking at the dead bodies of stars to figure out how they died. So that was my first master’s degree. I was doing that in infrared light, but — it’s a while ago, but it’s still a lot of fun.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Settler forensics, you should just start like a YouTube or like do a couple podcasts. I could help you out.
Since we’re here at the conference and I just see a lot of support, there’s a lot of advisors, there’s a lot of professors, there’s a lot of people that are established and just they’re going around and they are taking time out of their day and they’re being very sincere and trying to help all these undergraduates, these grad students, and even these postdocs. So what would you — what kind of advice would you give for maybe even yourself, you know? What advice would you give to yourself in your first years of undergrad that confused young Charee? What kind of advice would you give her to like stick with science?
And I know that there is not one, you know, silver bullet that’s going to solve inclusion in science, but what is one of the things you would have said? And then also what is one of the things you would have said to an advisor that maybe isn’t as familiar with other cultures and other people’s experiences than the traditional academic track?
>> Charee Peters: OK. OK. For the first one, if I were talking to myself, back in the day — and I still do this today — I think the biggest piece of information that I’d want to keep reminding myself of is that it’s OK to make mistakes. And it is through mistakes that we learn. So every single physics problem that I got wrong, every single test that I failed, everything was a learning experience. And it is through those experiences that I have become the person that I am today.
So kind of like a perseverance sort of thing with the added fact that it’s OK to fail. It just makes you a better scientist, a better person.
And in terms of talking to advisors and things like that, I think listening is the key thing to remember. So many times I’ve had advisors or just people in general come to me and say, “I want to tell you about my experiences,” and I think that they believe that they’re trying to be kind and helpful by sharing that, but at times, it’s just kind of, “Hey, we need to talk about our experience right now,” and knowing that even though it’s relatable to other experiences, it’s not exactly the same for everyone.
So there are unique components and that’s what makes good and have these new ideas is those unique experiences. So listening to that and being sympathetic rather than empathetic. You may not understand the exact experience itself, so you can sympathize with them in terms of like being like, “Wow, that’s really hard or difficult,” but not necessarily saying, “Oh, I’ve lived the exact same thing.”
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: It’s very, very — it’s a fine line.
>> Charee Peters: Yes.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: You know, because I feel like maybe students do want to hear some of the professors’ stories too, but they also want to be able to share. So they want it as a two-way street.
>> Charee Peters: Exactly.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: But I remembering showing this empathy versus sympathy video, though, and I agree that you — a faculty member shouldn’t be like, “Well, I grew up poor so I know what it’s like to be a black man,” which is not the same thing. We should not be empathetic in that way. But I think we should be empathetic in the way of trying to understand the other person’s experience and trying to draw on something to at least feel that feeling, but not necessarily think it’s the same thing.
>> Charee Peters: Exactly. Exactly. And I think that’s kind of the point that I’m trying to get across here and whether or not those words are completely articulate is a whole other issue [laughing].
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I think it’s very complex. And we have to really think about what we mean by “sympathy” and what we mean by “empathy” because they’re a lot more complex than just those words.
>> Charee Peters: Exactly. Exactly.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: And then so I want to go into my last question and that is, how is your — any part of your identity, how does that kind of link to your science identity, but also how is that portrayed in the media? Give me a good example, maybe an accurate example, and give me like a horrible, horrible example, if you can think of any.
>> Charee Peters: Yeah. OK. So we can start off with the horrible, horrible example because I’m just going to get it out with the grossness. So I’ve been approached even as a graduate student — so, for those of you who don’t know, I’m Native American, I’m Yankton Sioux. And, as a graduate student, I was told by somebody who was giving me money that I didn’t have critical thinking skills. So, at this point, I had already had at least one master’s. I think I might have had two master’s degrees at that point.
But they were questioning how a Native American could have any kind of scientific knowledge or critical thinking skills. And their arguments were based off of religion. So they made assumptions about what Native American religion was and it sounded like they kind of clumped all Native American cultures together or even all indigenous cultures together, which is extremely heart breaking.
And so having to deal with that and explain like, you know, I as an individual definitely have critical thinking skills that anyone who is Native American can have critical thinking skills. It’s not our culture that defines our brains or our knowledge or anything like that. And so I think that’s one of the worst things that I’ve ever had in terms of stereotypes.
I think, though, that in terms of like in general, I don’t fall into this idea of like being a stoic Native American [laughing]. I’m probably the least stoic person I’ve ever met [laughing]. But I think that, in a lot of ways, it is a reminder for me to like you know keep myself calm, to continue doing things, but it’s difficult. I’m trying to think of really good stereotypes, but it’s — [laughing]. It’s tough.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Yeah. Native Americans aren’t really portrayed in social media and in pop culture really at all. Like there’s the stereotype that Native Americans and indigenous people are in the past and they don’t live in the now. They don’t exist now. And that’s a massive problem.
>> Charee Peters: Most definitely. And actually along that it kind of reminds me that there is kind of a stereotype about Native Americans being very socially active in terms of like social injustice and things like that. So we’ve had a lot of things happening even currently with like the Dakota Access Pipeline and that’s a very true thing. I think that a lot of us are very sensitive and aware of, you know, what’s happening to our world in general. And we’re proud to stand up for the things, you know, that we believe in including things like when the 30 meter telescope tried to be built on Mauna Kea.
So these are things that we do try and talk about and I think that that is a positive thing. Although it’s not always necessarily portrayed as that.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I agree. That’s awesome. It’s good to have some relevant stuff in this show because sometimes it’s just not.
So I wanted to ask you just kind of at the end here, where do you see yourself? Like where do you see yourself doing the science and like what do you want to do with it in the future?
>> Charee Peters: So this is something that I ask myself often. And the answer changes often too. Because I think that there are just so many different opportunities with the skills that you learn as an astronomer, as a physicist. Currently I really like teaching. I like sharing knowledge and I like supporting other people.
So even here at SACNAS, like, as you said, everyone’s kind of supporting one another and there’s like this waterfall of just knowledge being shared. And I don’t want to say “waterfall” because that implies that it’s one way. But I think that even from like undergraduates, you learn things as like professors and, you know, everyone’s learning from one another. And so I really would like to continue fostering that within my own life.
So, if I could, I would really like to go and teach at, you know, maybe a college that doesn’t have as many opportunities for astronomy and physics to go and help out there, give other students, you know, unique experiences.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: There’s no really competition at this convention. Everyone — there seems to be no ego wrangling.
>> Charee Peters: Exactly. I think that everyone has something unique to bring to the table. And that’s one of the best things about SACNAS. Yesterday, we had a talking — or conversations with scientists and so there were probably, what, seven to 10 people sitting around a giant table. Yeah, there were about 10 tables, a bunch of people, and, at those tables, anyone could ask questions of anybody else. It was just a learning experience for everyone. And the things that we talked about, you know, were things all the way from being an undergraduate and how to get into research all the way to just like, you know, how do you take care of yourself in terms of, you know, doing a life balance — you know, with like work and just other things. Really really amazing things. And everyone seemed to have really great information to share.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Just for or listeners to kind of get an idea of what Charee is talking about, we had about — like you said, 10 people around a table. There were about 10 tables. But that was only for one discipline. So that was one room, you know, one room being bio, one room being computer science, one room being engineering. So think about how many people you’re reaching with like roughly 100 people per room and each different discipline. And, at this convention, there’s roughly 4,000 people.
Keep in mind that there are 4,000 scientists either in undergraduate, grad school, or postdoc, or professional that are here to support inclusion in STEM, to support students that care about diversity and care about different voices. So that’s a huge message I feel.
>> Charee Peters: Most definitely. And it’s not just, you know, that one time when we’re all sitting at tables. If you go through and walk along the booths, seeing how people interact and the support that they give one another is — you don’t see it at any other conferences.
I have to say it again. It’s one of the best things about being at SACNAS. It’s just the support that everyone gives one another.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Yep.
>> Charee Peters: Everyone wants to see each other succeed, find jobs, do the things that they love. It’s just — it’s like a family. SACNAS is a family.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Yeah. That is beautiful and I’m going to end there. OK. Thank you so much for talking with me and I hope that all your dreams come true and that you keep on making those analogies and you keep on studying what goes bump in the night because that is an amazing, amazing tagline. So thank you so much.
>> Charee Peters: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
[? Janelle Monae singing Wondaland ?]
? Early late at night
? I wander off into a land
? You can go, but you mustn’t tell a soul
? There’s a world inside
? Where dreamers meet each other
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: This is Spark Science. I’m Regina Barber DeGraaff. We are exploring stories of human curiosity. That’s our tagline. We are here at SACNAS 2016. We were here last year and we’re on the exhibitor floor and we’re back at the NASA booth. And I’m here with — you know what? I’m going to let you introduce yourself and say your name and like give me like a short description of what you are doing right now that involves science.
>> Dominque Butler: So my name is Dominque Butler. I’m from Los Angeles. And right now I’m an astronomy major. I’m in community college, but my plan is to transfer to USC. I’m going to major in astronomy and minor in journalism.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: You’re here at the NASA booth and how did you get associated with NASA and also I believe your mentor has told me an awesome story about your life before going into astronomy? Can you tell me a little bit about that?
>> Dominque Butler: Gosh. So it’s been a total whirlwind. It’s almost been magical I would say. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to use magic with science, but I feel like I believe in magic. So there you go [laughing].
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Well, people thought that — what was magic a long time ago was actually science.
>> Dominque Butler: Exactly. Yeah. So I feel like it does go hand-in-hand. But I started in January of 2016. So I started out as a philosophy major, but I took philosophy, astronomy, and French. Those were the three classes I kind of enrolled in and I thought I’m going to be able to choose a major and minor out of these three. I’ll kind of mix and match or whatever. And so philosophy, although I love it, you know, I read and study on my own, it just drove me crazy and I would like leave the class in tears. Like I would get into it with my professor. Like I just couldn’t — I don’t know. I don’t know exactly how to describe that.
But I was also taking astronomy so then I would go into my astronomy class and it just felt like the entire world was opened up to me. I had gone to university right out of high school and taken a few years off. So coming back into school, it was just like someone opened the windows in the attic.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: So like an awakening maybe?
>> Dominque Butler: Yeah. There we go. So it was a total awakening. You know? And especially I had studied space and astronomy on my own, but I wasn’t sure how to kind of grasp it, you know? But the professor I had was amazing and he was actually the senior scientist for the Hubble telescope for like 20 years. His name is Dr. Miguel Moreno.
He really — I mean, he changed everything for me. You know? And I started out in universities as an English major the first time I went to school. So coming back I was a philosophy major. He would point out what was philosophy when we were studying. So he would say, “Well, this relates to philosophy.” So he was always kind of engaging me in that way.
And so when I really thought about it, I asked him, you know, “Do you think that I could major in astronomy? I have no science background. I don’t really have a strong math background.” And he was like, “Yeah. You definitely can do this. You know, you just take it one semester at a time. There’s people here to help you. We need women 100%.” And so on thought about it for a few days and I just went and changed my major. There was a sign — a JPL flyer on campus so every day when I would walk back to my car after class, I would check the flyer to like double check the date. I had like a picture of it on my phone. I just was like, “I have to go to this meeting.” You know?
And so the meeting was Eddie and Roseland came down from JPL to speak to my college about internships and the NCAS program. So the NCAS program is NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program. And I just completed that. It’s — it comes in two parts. The first part is a five-week kind of like online research portion. And NASA provides all this research material and you have to, you know, learn the material, take tests on it, and get high scores. And then, at the end, you have to do a research project. So I did a 10-page research paper on — where I basically planned a Mars mission and then a campaign as well. So I marketed to get the public involved in this mission that I designed.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: So your mentor mentioned that you also model. Is that true?
>> Dominque Butler: Yeah. So actually this is where I guess it all kind of made sense. My mom is an actress and a model and so, growing up, I was always on set with her. She would take me to castings and, when I was like nine, started modeling when I would as nine years old with my mom. And actually it was really funny because I found a work permit from when I was 12 the other day. The like entertainment industry has to like issue these work permits when you’re under age, of course. So I found this work permit. I was 12 years old. And, you know, I was missing school to be in a music video.
So, growing up, that was just, you know — but my mom also has a bachelor’s in science. She’s a nurse. You know, I was able to see her do both. You know, she would be like come home off set and just be like so glamorous and beautiful. And then, you know, on the weekends would put on her scrubs and, you know, go to work. I was never uncomfortable with those two.
I kind of felt like I didn’t necessarily want to only model or only — you know, I always have loved learning and loved school and things like that. And so I felt like it was really important and I wanted to go back. Modeling is competitive in a whole different way. You know? Like I’d rather intellectually compete kind of with myself than physically compete with a million other girls ages 14 to —
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: To 25. It cuts off.
>> Dominque Butler: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. My career is coming to an end, you know [laughing].
No so I mean I never really took it seriously because I always felt like, you know, there’s something more out there for me. Not that it — I mean, it is an amazing career, but I just felt like, are myself personally, there was something more that I really needed to be doing or that I’m here to do, you know?
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: That brings us back to here the SACNAS conference. I mean, we talk about intersectionality and how we’re people of color, but we are more complex and we’re under represented in STEM, but we’re more complex than just that one note thing. I don’t know if you also have an issue with trying to promote your intersectionality?
>> Dominque Butler: I’m mixed as well. My mom is Creole and Irish and then my dad is a mix of Hispanic, Native American, African American, and his mom’s from Canada. You know, my parents are both mixed and they were mixed at a time when not that many people were mixed. And even my grandparents — you know, my grandmother was Creole and Irish and it was just like nobody was mixed like that. And she couldn’t pass for either or, you know, at that time.
I think I’ve struggled with that my entire life and especially now with everything that’s going on politically and kind of in society, it’s really hard. Because — especially like as a child when you were bullied by certain groups of kids and you’re just like you don’t really know where you fit in. But I think that it’s important to not — as cliché as it sounds — you don’t need to necessarily fit in. You know what I mean? Like I feel like, even though it’s important to promote intersectionality, it’s not what makes me me. You know?
Like you said, there’s so many other things behind what we are mixed with or what we look like on the outside. You know? And so I don’t know. I struggle with it. I don’t have a very clear opinion on it right now.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: You’re young.
>> Dominque Butler: Yeah. I guess [laughing].
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I barely have a clear opinion on it. So coming from like an entertainment background and not really being confident in science, how was it your first like year into this program where you’re like doing the science like for the first time and — we were just talking about, before we recorded, imposter syndrome. So like how have you been dealing with that? When was the first time you heard about imposter syndrome? Do you remember a moment where like, “Oh, my God. That’s what this is?”
>> Dominque Butler: One really cool thing is, you know, I grew up in LA and so my dad would take us to the Griffith Observatory almost — you know, every weekend we were at Griffith Park doing something there. You know? And I loved the observatory. So I — as I look back on my childhood, you know, we had a really cool telescope that my parents used to set out on the lawn. And the neighbors would come. One time the police came by and were looking at our telescope with us. You know, it just was like a thing. Like we had this big, huge telescope on our front lawn.
So I mean I always did have a love for that. You know, my mom was like, you know, taught me how to read at a really young age and was just always kind of pushing that sort of thing. So it’s — as for like the actual science, I think I felt imposter syndrome pretty early on. Especially at school — the community college I go to is a big — has a big fashion program. On campus, people are like, “Oh, so you’re a fashion student?” I mean, they’ll like come up to me and just assume, you know, “you’re a fashion student.” “No. Actually I’m a science major.” And then they’re like, “What are you majoring in?” “I’m majoring in astronomy.” And they’re like, “Oh, but you — you don’t look like — or you’re too pretty — or you’re too –”
And I’m like, I don’t know, would you like to buy a vowel to finish that sentence because it’s always like they stop right before they really say what they’re trying to say to you. You know? And you’re just like, “Oh, my gosh.”
The first time I really realized that it was like a thing, like imposter syndrome, I saw this TED Talk actually. There is this astrophysicist out of UCLA. She’s like, “You know, I’m an astrophysicist. I’m African American. I love make-up. I love fashion. I love magazines and all that type of thing.” And she’s an actress. And she’s also a scientist. And so she’s starting this program to get girls involved in the arts and in the sciences. To answer your question, I still deal with it. I mean, I’m pretty early on in my education. I’m about three semesters in. And especially when I went up to JPL for the NCAS program, I kind of walked in and it was just like, “Who let me it?” You know?
And, you know, in my free time, last semester, mainly I would go up to Cal Tech and go to like their astronomy colloquium. Or I would like go to lectures that they were holding there. And I was always just terrified someone was going to be like, “you don’t belong here,” and like kick me out. You know? Like, “Please don’t kick me out. I just want to sit in the back and listen.” You know?
I spoke to a woman in her 40s and she’s going back to school to be an astrophysicist and she had gotten into university right out of high school. And she had a professor tell her, “Nobody’s going to take you seriously because you’re a woman and because you’re short.” He says, “Because you’re a short woman.” That’s what he said. “Nobody’s going to take you seriously so you might as well just drop it.” And she dropped out of school and took a whole other career path. And now she’s back, you know, going to school. And she’s like, “This is what I was meant to do all along and I was just deterred.” You know?
And I think, for me, when I step foot in my astronomy class, it was like I just feel in love. It’s like the feeling that I have everyone I — you know, I’m studying astronomy or anything space or science, it’s like the same feeling I have when you’re falling in love. Like I have butterflies and I just want to talk about it and tell people about it. And you know, so —
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Totally agree with you. When I started undergraduate, it was like the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere. Like and then when I started my science undergraduate degree, I really, really felt like I belonged. Now that has gone up and down into now I’m a faculty member and — but I totally can identify with that feeling that you have right now.
And that’s really, really great and I think we need to say that to our listeners. Like if you find something that you’re really passionate about, like hold onto it. And it’s going to go up and down. But just keep on — remember that feeling. You know? From the very beginning.
>> Dominque Butler: That’s what’s going to keep you going really. You know, is just that initial — and I think about that all the time, that first day when Professor Moreno walked in and said that we’re all made of star stuff. And I just like fall out of my chair. You know? I just felt like so, I guess, included. You know what I mean? Because that’s the thing about space and in universe is it seems so, I think, abstract to so many people, but it’s where we live. You know? It’s just like how people travel, you know, all over the planet that we’re on now. It’s just like the universe is just as much ours as the planet that we live on is ours. You know?
And I think that if people had a clearer understanding and could kind of grasp what was going on in the universe just like they know what’s going on here on Earth, everybody could kind of feel that. You know?
[? Janelle Monae singing Wondaland ?]
? Dance in the trees
? Paint mysteries
? The magnificent droid plays there
? Your magic mind
? Makes love to mine
? I think I’m in love, angel
? Take me back to Wondaland
? I gotta get back to Wondaland
? Take me back to Wondaland
? Me thinks she left her underpants? Take me back to Wondaland
? I gotta get back to Wondaland
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: This is Regina Barber DeGraaff, host of Spark Science, and you are listening to our episode about new science ideas and inclusive education. We recorded on location at the SACNAS convention in Long Beach, California.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Tell me what you want to do. Like what do you want to do with astronomy? And like do you want to be a professor? Do you want to be in industry? Do you want to — what do you want to do?
>> Dominque Butler: So how I kind of came about what I want to do is sort of like a marriage of really my childhood. You know, like the two kind of happiest parts of my childhood or what I can really recall are, you know, like I said, like being up at the Griffith Observatory or a telescope with my family. And, you know, being on set with my mom and, you know, a lot of my friends work in entertainment. You know, but I never felt 100% at home there. You know? I just felt like I don’t really feel like this is what, you know, I’m supposed to be doing.
I want to transfer to USC and I’m going to actually major in astronomy there, but I’m going to get a bachelor of arts and I’m going to minor in journalism communications. So they — you know, it focuses on kind of how to get the word out within music and media and fashion, and kind of how they all tie together to promote something within pop culture. With the Bachelor of Arts in astronomy — you know, they also offer a bachelor of science, but you can pursue either a double major or a minor. And so I’m going to do that because what I want to do is be a science communicator within pop culture.
So what my plan is is kind of — I mean, I’m really inspired by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. You know, I just like adore them. And I think growing up, the only female I had and we had to look up to in science pop culture was Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: And she’s not real.
>> Dominque Butler: Exactly. You know, the fact that the only female was a fictional character, you know, in a cartoon is just like — there still really hasn’t been a woman that is forefront of I think pop culture and promoting science. You know? Yeah. You know, it’s just so important and I think especially for girls to look up to somebody and see — or look up to a lot of somebodies, you know what I mean? They should see a lot of different representations of women that are just as revered as I think artists. You know, because I think the intellectual process by which scientists create is identical to the process by which artists create. You know?
Really there’s not much difference there. What my plan is to do is just kind of bridge the gap between science and pop culture, which is why I’m so in love with what you’re doing.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I’ve talked to many people about that too and I was talking to a comic book writer and her husband do the artwork and she does Girl Genius. I don’t know if you heard about this is a web comic that’s been going on for like almost two decades. And she was talking about writing characters and asking, “Why?” Like, “Why is this guy the villain?” Like, “Why is this person the hero? Why is this person grumpy in this scene?” And I told her that her “whys” are like science “whys.” You know, like that’s what science is. We’re asking why. “Why does this work? Why does the story work? What is the story?” You know?
And I think that’s what writers do. That’s what people that make art do. That’s what actors — like, “Why is this character acting this way?” you know?
>> Dominque Butler: Right.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: And I feel like completely agree with you. There needs to be more of a connect between the scientific method and how we kind of analyze the world and how do we analyze art and how do we express, you know, our emotions and what we feel and all this kind of stuff. So I totally agree with you.
Is there anything else you would like to add before I ask you about pop culture in general?
>> Dominque Butler: If there’s anything that I would feel most passionate about within kind of space exploration, it’s just that more people would know the work that’s going into space exploration. I think NASA does such an incredible job. More people should know! You know what I mean? It’s just like these scientists and engineers and everybody that’s working just — this is their whole life. You know? And they just dedicate everything they have to propelling us forward as a human race. And it’s just not fair to me [laughing] that it’s not out there more or as much as other things within pop culture, which I won’t mention specific things.
What I want my life’s work to do is just get that out there more.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: The president of the Planetary Society told the story about how he had spent like five years working on this mission that had basically blown up. So he like saw like five years of his life like explode. So like I think there does need to be more stories like telling stuff like that, like how soul crushing that is [laughing]. But also about how gratifying it is when it does. Like the New Horizons, you know. When that went over Pluto. The amount of excitement we had. You know, people didn’t really understand.
>> Dominque Butler: Well, yeah. And then, you know, they brought us into the mission control room where they manned the rover landing on Mars. You know, we sat in all the chairs that they were sitting in. And then they played the video on the big screen. And I just cried the whole time. Like I was just an emotional wreck in the back of the room [laughing]. Because it’s just — more people should have that — it was just one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced.
You know, it’s just like when you go to a movie and you see like, you know, how a movie will kind of touch you or a music will really move you or, you know, art or whatever it is. It’s just like that is up there. And it’s real! It’s like what’s happening right now. And it’s like you said what people are dedicating their lives working for.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: So I’m going to go into pop culture because it’s something I love and now I’m finding out that you love it as well. I was a kid who basically TV was like my best friend. Like it was my friend late at night, in the morning, every time. And like Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation was like my jam. What kind of pop culture would you like the infiltrate?
>> Dominque Butler: Where I am going for is going specifically the urban side of pop culture. So more like within music. I would say like rappers. I’m really fascinated with kind of calibrations between rappers and scientists. I just think that would be, you know — that’s like my dream really.
A lot of my friends work in entertainment and in music and specifically in the urban side of music entertainment. And so when I’ve gone to parties or events, I’ve been able to have conversations like this with different artists or just different people. And people are so fascinated, you know? And they just — they want to know more and they want to know — you know, I’ve explained to some people what NASA is. Things like that that I’ve been able to explain to people and just have these conversations. I realize that everybody wants to take part in it. I think it’s just hard for people to know where to start because, I mean, that’s how I felt. It’s just like where do you really grasp — or how do you really grasp the universe? You know?
And so what I’d like to do is visual calibrations between artists and scientists, you know, in the urban side of pop culture. It would kind of create a whole new lane for kids to pursue. You know, it wouldn’t necessarily be, “I need to drop out of school.”
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I do want to add there — I just interviewed a woman named Sammus. That’s her rapper name. I think — I don’t remember —
>> Dominque Butler: I saw that. Yeah.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: She’s freaking amazing. She was so nice. She was like helping my daughter. And I think that’s amazing. What is your favorite pop culture thing like right now?
>> Dominque Butler: You know what, I just really like — a lot of albums are being released right now. Artists are just kind of steadily like releasing albums. So it’s really exciting to kind of hear what everybody’s working on and just —
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: That is awesome. I ask the same thing to every interviewee on my show. And it’s how is your field portrayed in pop culture and how is it good and how is it bad? So your field would be like students going into astrophysics, but it would also be like models and stuff like that. So give me some good examples, like really accurate exams that you’ve seen in pop culture, and really inaccurate exams.
>> Dominque Butler: I guess — I think that it’s just more that people that are into education and science and whatever are nerds. You know? And it’s just like this nerdy stereotype. And there’s always like the nerd at the cool table. It’s like the kind of novelty nerd that everybody wants around you. I wouldn’t even identify as a nerd because I don’t know what that really means. Because I feel like anybody can be interested in what we’re interested in. You know? And even the appearance thing, you know, where it’s like the hot girl that’s actually a nerd. It’s just like, what does that even mean? You know?
And so I think one really cool example I’ve seen of someone kind of flipping the switch is my mentor at JPL. She was a model and she was with an agency in New York and, you know, was working for years and then decided she wanted to go back to school. And she went back to school to be an engineer. And so now she’s an engineer at JPL. And she’s just brilliant. You know? And she just is like — it’s just so cool to have her to look up to to see that she was like, “I’m not going to just be this one thing.” You know? And she’s so much more and she’s proven to herself that she’s capable. You know?
And to me that was really amazing to be able to work with her and just have her, you know, tell me her story and feel like, “OK. I can do this.” You know what I mean? So I have a story. This is really where the light bulb went off and I really was able to see clearly what it is that I want to do and what it is that I want my work to be. Within the same week that Einstein’s theory, you know, about the gravitational waves, was proven correct, Kanye West released this album. He was going to name it, “Waves,” actually. And there was this big, huge like Twitter war with him and another artist over the name of the album. And it was a disaster.
And so he changed the name of his album to “The Life of Pablo.” But, within two days of Einstein’s questions, you know, being detected, he changed the album name. What happened was, you know, the scientific world went nuts when that happened. You know, it was just like — didn’t they rent out like a big hall? I feel like they rented out a hall and they had to rent out an even bigger one because everyone wanted to be there.
And, at the same time, Kanye West sold out Madison Square Garden because he had an album listening party along with a fashion show, like the release of his — I think the second season of his line. Or it might have been the first — the fashion and the music world was going insane because no one had ever done anything like that. You know, he combined a listening party where he dropped this new album while having his fashion show. And just nobody had done that.
And then, of course, the science world was going crazy because it was like something —
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: They had been waiting for —
>> Dominque Butler: For decades. You know? And so, first of all, I think he should have kept the name. I think he should have kept it “Waves” because he always kind of talks about how he’s — he compares himself to like the geniuses of the world. You know? And I just think that would have been a really cool tribute to like one of our biggest geniuses. You know?
And I think if there would have been a connect there between the two, it could have been a really cool experience within pop culture. If there was more of a connect. You know what I mean? Like a plug between like what was going on in that world, in like the pop culture world, what was going on in the science world because it was just within days of each other it was happening.
And so when I saw that, I just thought like, “I don’t want this to ever happen again.” Like I want this to be a very clear, everybody is celebrating. I mean, what if they would have had a celebration together? You know what I mean? For that and it could have just been celebrating two really important things in history.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I think Kanye would say you’re a genius. I want to thank you for talking because that was just an awesome end point of talking — with our interview. And I just wish all the best. I know you’re going to be amazing. I know you’re going to get into science communication and it’s going to be awesome. Thank you for talking to me, Dominque.
>> Dominque Butler: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been great.
[? Janelle Monae singing Wondaland ?]
? Take me back to Wondaland
? Me thinks she left her underpants
? The grass grows inside
? The music floats you gently on your toes
? Touch the nose, he’ll change your clothes to tuxedos
? Don’t freak and hide
? I’ll be your secret santa, do you mind?
? Don’t resist
? The fairygods will have a fit
? We should dance
? Dance in the trees
? Paint mysteries
? The magnificent droid plays there
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: We’re here at the SACNAS National Convention here in Long Beach and I am here. And I’m going to let you introduce yourself, Natasha, and what you do at — in grad school and also with VanguardSTEM and what that is.
>> Natasha Berryman: So my name is Natasha Berryman and I am sort of the nontraditional graduate student who, right now, is nestled in a master’s to PhD bridge program. And it’s at Fisk University. It’s a partnership between Fisk University and Vanderbilt. And essentially what you do is you get your master’s degree, they bridge you over to a PhD, and it’s built for people who need an immersive experience in the sciences. They didn’t get enough of it when they were in undergrad, they didn’t get it at all when they were in undergrad, they’re coming from a different field, which is true in my case. I am classically trained as a technical writer and then a communicator.
So while I had always been interested in science, I wrestled with this idea of whether or not I can actually do it. And when I finally got to a spot where I realized that I was capable of it, I started to seek out programs that would support me in that. I also currently serve as the Editor in Chief for VanguardSTEM.com, which is a website that’s geared towards supporting women of color in STEM.
And the goal there is to just create a community. Right? Of women of color. Because we are under represented in STEM fields, but we’re out here. You know, we’re doing our thing. We’re doing it well. And the whole point of it really is just to encourage one another, create a safe space to talk about the things that are relevant to our narratives, and really recognizing and celebrating the fact that it’s all different for each of us, but there are common threads and themes that can also unite us.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: So what kind of science have you started to do in your bridge program?
>> Natasha Berryman: I am officially in the biology section, but what I do specifically is neuroscience. And right now I am in a lab where we look at the protio, it’s the family of proteins that are recruited and involved in a particular pathway. We look at the dopamine transporter pathway because it plays a critical role in many neurodegenerative diseases and then also it has lots of bearing on drug abuse and just the way that the folks who contend with those issues, the way their bodies work, the way their brains work, all that stuff. It’s essentially rooted in that. So we look at the proteins that are involved because that gives us insight about like how our brains are actually functioning in the context of drug abuse. So we specifically look at cocaine and methamphetamine.
It also helps us — or will hopefully position folks to come up with therapies that are just more pointed, detailed, actually helpful. And then the other thing that’s exciting about it is that other folks research and something that we piggy back on is this idea that, in folks who abuse methamphetamine, for instance, they develop early onset Parkinson’s disease because of the way that the proteins are functioning in the brain. They mirror one another. So, if you’re abusing meth and you end up with Parkinson’s, or Parkinson’s like symptoms, you know and we’re trying to understand why that is, how we get there, and then, you know — so that in the long-run someone can do something about it.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Did you always want to work in neuroscience or before, when you were doing technical writing, was there like an ah-ha moment that you had like in childhood or in your adulthood before you went into this program about, “This is what I want to do in science?”
>> Natasha Berryman: Yeah. So it’s kind of funny because, initially, like my interests in science — and it’s probably true for lots of little kids especially — was like marine biology. I was just like, “Yeah, penguins,” right? Like I was all about penguins [laughing]. And then I got really practical.
I come from a family that is very loving and very [inaudible] and very caring, but also pretty dysfunctional. And, as a result of that, I learned at a very early age that it is important to be really practical and pragmatic and logical because those are things that directly tie to survival. At least in my case, right? And not only that, but success.
So as I got older, I was like, “Well, you know, let’s get a little bit more practical.” So I went actually into communications because I was afraid to go into the sciences. I was good at writing. It was one of those things that they funnel kids who are impoverished, right, and struggling in school — like you’re acting out, they’re going to put you into a program that, you know, allows you to channel that energy. And, for me, it was into writing and public speaking, acting, that kind of stuff.
So I clung to writing because it was this outlet for me because it was a place that was safe. Right? In my mind, I could retreat to this thing. I could articulate what I was feeling. It helped me to just deal with the world. So, when I got to college, I was like, “Well, I’m good at that. Right? I should do that because science is big and scary and it’s not for people like me. And I’m not sure that I’m actually able to do that.” I had gone to four different high schools before I got into undergrad.
The curriculum — and it was across three different states. So the curriculum was nuts. You know? I felt like I was unprepared. I didn’t think that I could go in there. To this day, people are like — I’ll go into a classroom and right now I’m in a molecular cell biology course, and every time I’m in there, my professor is like, “Yeah, this is stuff you learned in high school.” I never learned that in high school. So I’m just like constantly filling in that gap.
I didn’t feel prepared. I was like, “I’m going to go into technical writing and that’s the thing I’m going to do.” And then what ended up happening sort of very serendipitously was that I ended up landing a job at an R1 institution in the state in which I was living at the time. And I was a science writing. Like I became a science writer.
So I would meet with these top notch scientists. They would tell me about their story. And then I would go and, you know, communicate that.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Were you given that assignment of science writer and they just like gave it to you? You didn’t pick it?
>> Natasha Berryman: Yeah. Exactly. That’s it exactly. I mean, I was excited about it because I thought, “Oh, you know, science is interesting,” but — like I went to Ferris State University for undergrad. And Sandy Balkema is the woman who leads the program that I was in. And she’s like, “What we do is to prepare you to talk about anything.” Right? And like that was really the confidence for it.
So, when I would go into these interviews, they’d be like, “Well, do you know anything about science? Do you know anything about ecology, agronomy? All these –?” And I’m just like, “No. But I’m a technical writer so I can figure it out.” Right? And so then I was just shoved into this — the world of science. And I was like excited but also really scared.
So I remember interviewing someone and he was amazing. He was looking at tuberculosis and right from like a molecular level with implications for pharmaceuticals. And essentially what he was trying to do was to shut down this particular pathway in the tuberculosis bacterium that allows it to like live in a hypoxic environment in the body. Right? So in the absence of oxygen. That’s how it forms tumors. That’s how it lives in us. It’s crazy.
And he’s like, “If I can shut this pathway down, I can do the thing I need to do.” And he was super excited about social justice and understanding — and just realizing that the implications of drug development and disease management extends to places well beyond the states. So tuberculosis isn’t an issue that Americans are all that worried about because we’re like, yeah, we’re a forward country, that’s the thing. But in most of the world, tuberculosis is a huge issue. Right?
And because we live in a place where you can hop on a plane and go from wherever to wherever and tuberculosis is a bacterium that lives dormant in your body, it should be an issue for Americans. OK? So in thinking about that, he was just super like into philanthropy and it was just — it was so inspiring to me that this person, who was so smart, and who was so innovative in his field, also managed to be both aware of the world and committed to affecting it in a positive way. Right? For folks who come from poor backgrounds. And that really resonated with me.
And then not only that, but we had this conversation one day where I was just like, “I really think that I wand to do research, but I don’t know if I can.” And he’s like, “You can. You don’t actually have to be a researcher to have an affect in the world of science.” Right? And not only that, but an affect that has broader implications for the rest of the world. “You can do something about that. You can, you know, partake in this world.” And that was really inspiring to me. And he was the first person who had ever told me that. And I was 25 at the time. And I was just like, “What?” you know? Wow.
So that was really huge for me and it sparked — it galvanized me to pursue my education outside of that.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I think that was a wonderful story. So I want to go into like the next part that we were talking about, this idea of, if you could go back to yourself when you were like deciding to go into technical writing because you were scared of science. Now, everything you’ve gone through and everything you’ve lived, what would you tell yourself and would you tell yourself to do something different or would you tell yourself to like stay the course? And how does that relate to what you would tell the students — the many, many, many students here at SACNAS how to be successful in science?
>> Natasha Berryman: So I’m not sure I would go back and tell myself to do anything different other than just supplement my training in technical writing with other classes that, you know, are relevant to STEM fields. I have realized — and it’s a message that I really — I tell when I’m talking to folks, other young women especially what are interested in science, but are also afraid of it — is just that there’s no one way to be successful. There’s no one way to be excellent. There’s no one way to enter the field of — or any of the fields of STEM. Right?
And my ability to communicate has — is really — it gives me an edge in the field. Right? So like I can always go back and get the didactic training I need. I can always go back and get the technical lab training that I need. And that’s what I’m actually doing right now. But my colleagues struggle to articulate not only their science, but why they’re doing it, why it’s important, who it helps, if it helps anyone, or if it’s just important to further basic knowledge. And that’s OK if that’s the case, but you have to be able to talk about that. And that’s something that I can do. Definitely true of my experience. I’m not sure that I would go back and change it.
And, if I could tell myself something, though, it would be that, “Like, your life is hard. It’s going to be hard and there are going to be things that really challenge you and that feel like they’re going to break you. But they won’t.” Right?
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Yeah.
>> Natasha Berryman: And then I guess the other thing I would tell myself is that, it’s OK to be walking down the path that you’re on. It’s going to lead to the thing that helps you to do whatever the thing is that you decide. Right? And, at that point, I don’t really think that I knew what it was and now I think I have a clearer vision of that. But I’m also telling myself now and would tell myself back then that you need to give yourself room to grow. Right? And to respond to the circumstances and the environments that you’re in. You don’t have to have a rigid plan. There isn’t one path to get there. And even though it might feel very turbulent along the way, there’s still success there. And not only that, growth as a person.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Right. That’s really good advice. I think that also we really need to talk to faculty and we need to talk to advisors and mentors and how do you navigate the waters of dealing with somebody or helping advise somebody who doesn’t have the same experiences as you? What advice would you tell them? And, again, I know there’s many, many things to tell them, but what was one of the things that you would like to tell faculty?
>> Natasha Berryman: Right. So I guess I would say — at least — especially if I’m traveling back in time and I’m saying the thing to them, the world is going to look very different from how it does right now and you have got to get it out of your mind that, because you were born in a particular generation or because, you know, the students that you’re training are born in a particular generation, that they all have the same set of characteristics. We are not all monolithic.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Or millennials.
>> Natasha Berryman: Or we’re not all millennials. Right? I don’t even ascribe to that designation because I don’t identify with those things. You know, I think that we can all at times be entitled. Right? We can all, at times, feel that way, but that isn’t something that has to define who we are as a group of people. That being said, you have to approach your students and think about them, especially if you’re saying to me or to, you know, the folks that are funding you, that you are interested in their growth as people. You have got to then be able to step back and approach them as a person. They aren’t this project for you.
They aren’t this set of characteristics that you have to adjust and change and make better because there’s something wrong with them. They are not all the same. We do not all come from the same places. We do not all have the same sort of familial support, financial support, mental/emotional support.
I am only 27, but I have been through some things that — I’ve not run across folks who are older than me who have encountered those same things. And it’s wrong to assume that, because you’re young, you’re somehow — you’re missing something. Like, you know the world’s unclear to you in some way. You can be young and have done a lot of living and you need to approach these students that you’re mentoring and training with that level of sensitivity.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: It’s really, really true. I need to do that too as a faculty member. I need to be more aware and always check myself and take a step back.
I want to go into some levity now. Is there a way that neuroscience or even organizations that support women of color or people of color in STEM, or even scientists of color in the media, how has that been portrayed, that you know of, that has been fairly accurate and fairly not accurate?
>> Natasha Berryman: Yeah. So I do neuroscience and off the top — again, I’m just going to include in this, I’m not super aware of all the pop cultury things. So there might be something out there that does portray, you know, neuroscientists, scientists, whatever, in a positive way, but I really struggle to find that. Like I do [laughing]. Yeah. I mean, not even that, but like in a way that is — that doesn’t just completely close down a narrative.
So like I love Big Bang Theory. Like it’s super funny to me. But it’s also like, “Yeah. So this is just like one type of scientist and one thread of scientists.” And there are even people on the show I think who really, honestly, sort of reflect what it’s like to be, you know, those other things. For me, like — well, if someone always asks me like, oh, scientists, “What is the thing that comes to mind when you think about them?” it’s intersectionality for me. Right?
We’re not just one thing. Like we don’t all have one identifier, one modifier. We are all kinds of things. So there’s this movie that I — it’s a sci-fi film and it’s awesome. Like it’s [laughing]. I think it’s great. It’s called Predestination. Have you ever seen it? You should watch it.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: I’m going to watch it when I get home.
>> Natasha Berryman: Yeah. It’s good. It’s not for children [laughing]. Don’t watch it with kids. The themes are just — like they’re too heavy.
But when I think about — because, for me, when I think about neuroscience, the thing that got me into it was just this idea that life is awesome and we live it. Right? Like we’re biologically alive, sentient. But our nervous system and the thing that it does — like — it begins with a separation of charges. And that separation of charges is what allows us to have — to experience life as opposed to just living it.
So when I think about that concept and that — that life is a series of experiences, Predestination comes to mind because it — I mean, there’s like time travel and these sort of overlapping realities and just like the implications of one experience crossing over with another. And that, to me, sort of summarizes like what our brains are like. Right? In the sense that we can be here and experience a thing now, but we can also, in our minds, go forward, go backward, and experience something there too. And it can be very real for us in essence.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: No. I love it. That was very deep. Thank you for talking to me. And I hope you have a wonderful time at the rest of this conference and have a safe trip back.
>> Natasha Berryman: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m so happy I got to meet you.
>> Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff: Thank you for joining us. We interviewed scientists at the SACNAS National Convention, which focuses on making STEM more inclusive. If you missed any of our show, go to our website SparkScienceNow.com, or to KMRE.org and click on the podcast link. We’ll be back again next week. Listen to us on 102.3FM in Bellingham or KMRE.org streaming on Sundays at 5PM, Thursdays at noon, and Saturdays at 3PM.
If there’s a science idea you’re curious about, post a message on our Facebook page, Spark Science. This is an all volunteer run show so, if you want to help us out, go to SparkScienceNow.com and click on “donate.”
Today’s episode was recorded on location in Long Beach, California in October 2016. Our producer is Regina Barber DeGraaff. The engineer for today’s show is Natalie Moore. Special thanks to the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, which is what SACNAS stands for.
Our theme music is “Chemical Calisthenics” by Blackalicious and “Wondaland” by Janelle Monae.
[?Blackalicious rapping Chemical Calisthenics ?]
? Lead, gold, tin, iron, platinum, zinc, when I rap you think
? Iodine nitrate activate
? Red geranium, the only difference is I transmit sound
? Balance was unbalanced then you add a little talent in
? Careful, careful with those ingredients
? They could explode and blow up if you drop them
? And they hit the ground
[End of podcast.]