This book relates the stories of some amazing women who are currently working as chemists or are recently retired. These women, as I have said before, are hiding in plain sight. Perhaps the first or the only woman of color to work in a particular lab or university, they all managed to succeed in spite of any obstacles they faced. This chapter presents some ideas as to what you can do in order to succeed if you, your child, grandchild, or students might be interested in a STEM career, especially in chemistry. I highly recommend reading Dr. Sandra L. Hanson’s book, Swimming against the Tide: African American Girls and Science Education. Dr. Hanson studied young African American girls in high school and their attitudes toward science, which has traditionally been a male profession. One of her conclusions is that these young girls need to see or read about role model, an African American woman chemist. Swimming against the Tide was written before the explosion of the World Wide Web and web-based materials, so this conclusion may no longer hold. For example, information about most of the women in this book is available on the web; some of them have given talks that are also on the web. Many of the women whose stories are told here work to mentor young minority students. These web based materials can be accessed by the students and teachers. The primary organization that focuses on careers in chemistry is the ACS. What is chemistry? It is a branch of science that provides opportunities for a variety of careers, not just working in a research laboratory making new chemicals. According to the ACS, “In simplest terms, chemistry is the science of matter, for example anything that can be touched, tasted, smelled, seen or felt is made of chemicals.” The ACS website has information on chemistry careers, including videos of the different jobs that chemists do, and information on various technical disciplines, as well as profiles of many chemists, including one whose life story is in this book.
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