My Quest To Teach

April 8, 2017

Black Girl Magic As An Agent of STEM

STEM  Panelists
Hortinse Diggs – Grace Johnson – Mary Madison – Lesley Harris

“Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game.
It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and
where we’re going.
Space travel benefits us here on Earth. And we
ain’t stopped yet. There’s more exploration to come.”
Nichelle Nichols, former NASA Ambassador and actress

“When I was young I was very interested in science
and technology, and my dad brought home the first
computer. I played pac man and I was hooked!
By learning to create technology, girls learn to
speak up.”
Regina Agyare, Founder of software company
Soronko Solutions

“Suppose you came across a woman lying on the street
with an elephant sitting on her chest. You notice she
is short of breath. Shortness of breath can be a symptom
of heart problems. In her case, the much more likely
cause is the elephant on her chest.
For a long time, society put obstacles in the way of
women who wanted to enter the sciences. That is the
elephant. Until the playing field has been leveled and
lingering stereotypes are gone, you can’t even ask
the question.”
Sally Ride
First American Woman in Space
Challenger Space Shuttle, 1983



Encouraging Words from Women of STEM

Encouraging our students in STEM

A Good Work Ethic Is Important

Have a Passion for Math

Build Friendships with Others

Mentoring and Allow God to Work

Put In That Vision for College Early

You have to believe in yourself always



January 16, 2017

There Are More Hidden Figures Around Us

Dr. Mae Jemison and Taylor Richardson

There Are More Hidden Figures Around Us
by Prof. William Jackson @wmjackson
Edward Waters College

“I’m just amazed at the shoulders that I’m standing
on to allow me to work to achieve my dreams.”
Taylor Richardson, attending “Hidden Figures”
premiere at the White House 2016

Dedicated to the past Hidden Figures that allowed
girls and boys to embrace STEM – STEAM – STREAM
and grasp new opportunities to fulfill dreams from the
depths of the sea, to the height of the clouds to the
deepest of space.
The movie ”Hidden Figures” 2016 is inspiring thousands
of girls and women to eliminate the fear of learning,
to understand the fun of exploration, embrace artistic
creativity, develop themselves as “thought leaders” and
“smart creatives.” To understand that it is ok to be smart,
gifted, talented and special. The perceived glass ceiling of
career limitations has been shattered by the flames of
curiosity to explore not just the limitations of earth’s
atmosphere and her seas, but has moved into the air less,
weightless and limitless expanse of space and time.

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE of Jacksonville, Florida

The emergence of STEM – Science Technology Engineering
Math is looking good to girls and women as careers explode
in diversity in the embracing of girls and women into areas
at one time exclusively open to men, white men.
The irony of “Hidden Figures” is that research has proven
that women are more analytical and able to comprehend
and apply mathematics skills faster than men. They are more
detailed oriented and specific about applying learning to
real world situations.

African Americans and others of color have been involved
with most if not all space agencies, this involvement is not
just as custodians, cooks, maintenance and other support
personnel. These positions are important, they help the
people do the jobs they to do and service this country.
The other aspect is not just as service personnel, but the
intellectual abilities that allow for NASA and other agencies
to meet with success and build a legacy through the
intelligence of everyone that contributes. People of color
have always and will continue to contribute, they have not
received the recognition they deserve.

STEM / STEAM are the hottest sectors in the U.S. job market
and has grown to international levels. Even before it became
a commonly used word the elements of STEM have been
important. Because of movies like “Hidden Figures” and others
doors of imagination and dreams are growing for girls,
women, boys and men of color and culture.

STEM does not start in high school or higher education, it
starts in elementary education labs, classrooms and weekend
competitions and events. It starts in after school programs and
new curriculum’s that teachers have a passion to apply new
and exciting ways to engage students that were once thought
slow or different, but were actually higher order and critical
thinkers, just bored with cookie cutter teaching strategies
dated from the 1950s and 1970s. Today’s students need to
be engaged and active learners.

William Jackson teaching a STEAMS
class – Science Technology Engineering
Math Sports – engaging studnets.

When I taught STEAM at an elementary Magnet it is important
that learning is relevant and students can apply their past
learning to new learning and integrate it to everyday life.
If students are not engaged mentally, actively involved, have
hands on activities and allowed to explore environments there
are lost opportunities to build the excitement to allow future
scientists, mathematicians, engineers, innovators and even
technical expertise in computers and robotics.

HBCUs are important in the education
of future STEM employees.

Many people still do not realize that STEAM and STEM run the
U.S. economy, look at the growth of careers that not only require
a college degree, but certifications. “The future of the economy
is in STEM,” says James Brown, the executive director
of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C. Even
President and Mrs. Obama have encourage STEM education
through grants and national programs.

Parents must understand as well that their children’s employment
are influenced by STEM. Employment in occupations related to
STEM science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is
projected to grow to more than 9 million jobs by 2022
nationally and internationally. Children now may now have to
find jobs in the U.S. and have to travel overseas, they must be
prepared to keep this nation competitive.

U.S. relationships with the world are important because if the
U.S. does not have friendly relationships globally then research
opportunities, international collaborations, joint projects and even
educational research will be at jeopardy. We cannot afford to be
secluded because the world is diversified in economic and social
Students should be asking what their STEM futures are and how is
their current educational instruction preparing them for the future?
Parents should be asking are their children being prepared to be
employed or setup to be under or un – employed.

“One of the things that I’ve been focused on as President is how
we create an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology,
engineering, and math… We need to make this a priority to train
an army of new teachers in these subject areas, and to make sure
that all of us as a country are lifting up these subjects for the
respect that they deserve.”
President Barack Obama, Third Annual White House Science Fair,
April 2013


Events like the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE by Mark Douglas McCombs
are foundations to engage youth, teens and young adults into
robotics, programming, design, innovation and as developers.
There are hundreds if not thousands of “Hidden Figures” in homes,
schools, communities, cites and this nation. They should be
encouraged, mentored and provided role models to spread their
wings to take flight to be unHidden…

Mark Douglas McCombs, center celebrating the
FIRST LEGO LEAGUE competition at The Bolles

Parents your child may be the scientist to discover a cure for cancer,
diabetes, heart disease; your child may be the next deep sea
explorer or engineer to develop light speed, force fields or even
new fuels to power the world. Uncover the hidden talent in your child
by supporting their education, their thirst for exploration and their
gifted abilities.

Statistics uses data from Occupational Employment Statistics


Jacksonville Florida FIRST LEGO LEAGUE

The Office of Science and Technology Policy

Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson



January 1, 2017

Taylor Richardson Receives Historic White House Invites


Taylor Richardson Receives Historic White House Invites
by William Jackson, M.Ed
Inspired by Taylor Richardson, student at the Bolles School
Literacy Advocate and Aspiring Astronaut

Taylor Richardson is on the move to achieve her dreams of
becoming an astronaut and traveling to Mars. She is not the
only one, there is a national movement by girls and women to
be the first to safely travel to the red planet, explore its’
mysteries and return home safely.
The difference is Taylor is a resident of Jacksonville, Florida
just several hours way from the home of space travel central,
Kennedy Space Center located in central Florida.
In just the 7th grade, a student at The Bolles School, her
academics are preparing her for the rigors and challenges of
higher education, building a foundation in the areas of STEM
and STEAM where future careers are linked to.
Taylor is sometimes referred to as an Agent of STEAM, Part of
the Mars Generation, and AstroStarBright on Twitter seen with her mother.
In order for these dreams to turn to realities requires a lot
of community work, networking, community support and a love
for STEAM and STEM.


Taylor and her mother have been working to achieve this
dream since Taylor as a young child started dreaming of space flight.
They have been blessed to be noticed by the White House on
several opportunities and have been invited to events like the
“2016 United State of Women: The Movement”
and the recent “Hidden Figures” celebration attended by
politicians, actors, community activists, astronauts, scientists
and educators. both in Washington, D.C.
Hosted by the White House with presentations from First Lady
Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama.


The struggle is real for the single mother that has strategically
guided and managed Taylors journey, but the rewards are awesome
for Taylor to achieve her goals that allow her to be a mentor
to younger girls that are learning about STEM and
those interested in expanding their knowledge through reading.
Taylor, a shy and soft spoken young lady puts aside herself and
speaks to youth teens and young adults about careers that are not
out of their reach. That girls of color and culture are valuable and
carry within them a magic that they can harness to achieve anything
they want to. There is no glass ceiling just the stars to reach
for. Taylor inspires boys not just girls by letting them known that
kids of color can be astronauts, scientists, engineers and that other
careers are open to them not just sports and entertainment.


This is seen when Taylor and her mom are invited to events
from the Governor in 2016 when receiving honors for volunteering
in the community, promoting literacy and being a member of the Girl
Scouts and participating in Journey Into Womanhood an initiative
to provide mentorship to inner city girls and women in Jacksonville,
Taylor and her mom were sent invitations to attend the event
highlighting the 2017 movie Hidden Figures recognizing the
history of space exploration and how African American women were
pivitol in the success of space travel because of their mathematics
knowledge. This historic event featured the stories of African American
women who have made significant contributions to human space flight,
space science, and innovation, but who have not often had their
stories told. There are thousands of African American, Latino and
many others of culture that have not received their just recognition
that contributed to the success of the space program, NASA and other
scientific success stories.


Events like these help to elevate Taylor and inspires her to continue
to work hard to achieve her goals and even lift up other girls and even
boys to see they can achieve great things no matter their
backgrounds and challenges.
The movie Hidden Figures is a fantastic story written by
Margot Lee Shetterly
The story of Hidden Figures
Taylor is just one of thousands of girls and young ladies that have
astronomical dreams. As her mother states, “it takes a village to
raise astronauts.” This is a testimony that collectively we need
to support children of color and culture to help them contribute
to the growth of our nation and provide praise and resources to make
sure they grow and share their knowledge for those following behind them.


Wm Jackson
Parent, Blogger, Educator, Speaker
Blogging at My Quest To Teach



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