On September 21, 2018, I had the pleasure of visiting Beta Selam Academy, a charter school just outside San Diego. I read my book to the students and gave them each a copy. We then had an extensive Q&A session. The students asked me about my life. How did I get into Engineering? Where did the idea for the book come from? Does pineapple belong on pizza? (Maybe the last one didn’t happen). My biggest message to them was that just because they don’t see someone who looks like them in any given scenario, that doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to be there. I worked as an engineer at four companies. I was always the only Black engineer. I never let that bother me. I always knew that I was just as capable as the other engineers. Wherever you are is where you’re supposed to be.  I really wanted the students to take this message to heart before they became adults.  Case in point: at a networking event, I met a Black woman who mentioned that, when she was the only Black person in a room, she felt uncomfortable. Unless I’m at a KKK or Neo-Nazi rally, I’ve never felt that way, and my hope is that the kids never feel that way, either. Discomfort can sometimes keep us from doing things that are in our best interest. It keeps us from progress. If we’re uncomfortable, we may do something to alleviate the discomfort. In the woman’s case, perhaps she prematurely leaves an event if she’s the only Black person there. I want the kids to know that they can learn from everybody, and they have things to share with everybody. So if they’re in a Physics class and they’re the only Black student, don’t drop out the class. If they’re the only Black engineer at a company, don’t quit at the first opportunity.  We’ll stay underrepresented if we have that mentality. 

1 Comment

  • 择偶网
    Posted August 16, 2020 12:09 am 0Likes

    我来了,我走了,我又来了,我又走了!

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