I have organized science enrichment camps and workshops for elementary school teachers and students in South Carolina for the past 20 years. Most of these programs have targeted underrepresented minorities, particularly girls, in the sciences. The goals of my Entomology Camps are to provide tools for learning about the science of entomology and to help build self-esteem. Many of the children are surprised to learn that an African American woman is in a profession based in agriculture. They’re further surprised that my research focuses on investigating alternatives to chemical pesticides and developing sustainable family farms.
The article “Providing Students the Tools to Excel” (see Black Issues, July 4) coincided with media coverage of one of my camps and provided encouragement for others like me to expand and promote access to students in our communities. We need to continue to let our youngsters know that we come from many generations of scientists and mathematicians, and that it was our ancestors who taught some of the agricultural practices that they brought from Africa. We need to help them understand that our food does not just appear in the grocery stores, but it took sophisticated science and technology to get it there. I do appreciate your bringing this issue of pre-college preparation in science and math to policy-makers and other leaders throughout the nation.
Dr. Gloria Sanders McCutcheon
Coastal Research and Education Center
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