Black History Month Girls and Gigabytes Event

Kalisha Dessources: Good afternoon, everyone Audience Members: Good afternoon Kalisha Dessources: We’re excited to have you here during Black History Month We’re excited to have you here during a time where this President and this White House thinks that it is so important for young people to be involved in science, and in math, and in engineering, and in technology And it is a really great thing — you guys should all be proud of yourselves that you guys are here today, that you guys are going to be trying cool things, and maybe slightly difficult things, and maybe taking yourself out of your norm for just a little bit So, you guys should be very excited I am so — I am a former science teacher, so I am so, so happy to have you guys here I do not get to interact with kids on a daily basis, and children are — and children and kids and youth are, to me, a lot more fun than adults are sometimes So, I am — I’m very happy to have you guys here I am going to now introduce Waikinya, who would like to welcome you guys as well (applause) Waikinya Clanton: Good afternoon, everyone Audience Members: Good afternoon Waikinya Clanton: Okay, we’ve been together all day, so I feel like we’re a family Good afternoon, everyone Audience Members: Good afternoon Waikinya Clanton: Very good I am — as Kalisha mentioned, Waikinya Clanton I’m the National Executive Director of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, NOBEL Women in short I have the honor of serving these wonderful ladies seated right here on the front row, beginning with our illustrious National President, our second Vice President, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, and our National Director of Regional Coordinators, a second Vice President, and our chaplain, are all here to be here with you all today It is, indeed, an honor and a privilege to be here, at the invitation of the President and the First Lady We are extremely grateful to Ms. Stephanie Young, and Ms. Kalisha Dessources for inviting us here today I hope you realize how much we take pride in investing in your futures, and I hope you take the full advantages of what we all have at play for you here today Without further ado, I’m going to invite our National President, President Laura Hall, of the great state of Alabama, to formally give you opening remarks (applause) Laura Hall: Thank you, Waikinya Good afternoon Audience Members: Good afternoon Laura Hall: So, you know, I heard some little rumblings a few minutes ago about, “Oh, this isn’t the White House.” I said, “Oh, yes, it is.” Now, it may not be where the President is living, if that’s what you thought you were going to see, where the President lives, I haven’t even had an opportunity to see that But believe me, you are at the White House, and you are in a great — you have an excellent opportunity by being here today So, I want you to know how much we appreciate you and your parents, and your sponsors, and the volunteers Thank you, thank you, thank you (applause) So, as was stated, I’m the National President of NOBEL Women, and I want to, first, thank President Obama and First Lady Obama for this gracious invitation And so, before I begin talking about NOBEL Women in a 3G program, please allow me to recognize the members of our board of directors All members of NOBEL, would you please stand? These ladies are responsible for you being here, so please give them a round of applause (applause) We even have one of the charter members of NOBEL, who is seated in the back That’s Senator Diana Bajoie, from Los Angeles, and thank you, Senator Bajoie (applause) What did I say? Louisiana? Okay All right So, we began NOBEL Women — Girls Gigabytes and Gadgets at the beginning of last year, and presently have trained more than 400 girls This is an innovative series of workshops and discussions that are designed to expose young women and girls, particularly African American women and girls, from at risk immunities The idea is to have them be engaged in careers about science, technology, engineering, arts, agriculture, mathematics, all of those things that throughout the United States The idea of Girls Gigabytes and Gadgets was created to magnify one powerful message Women and girls aren’t just to be users of technology, but creators, designers, influencers, and decision makers as well And this type of innovation we hope will expose young girls to a variety of things Today, you will have a variety of workshops, ranging from app ideation, coding, DNA simulation, aerospace technology, molecular design,

social media mastery, a host of other activity — these are some of the activities that we held over the last year, and you will experience some of those today Collectively, participants are asked to take a social media safety and responsibility pledge, which will be offered to you a little later So, what I want to do at this time is to invite our Vice President and national Vice President, Senator Arthenia Joyner of Florida to come to the podium to administer NOBEL Women’s internet safety and responsibility pledge Senator Joyner (applause) Arthenia Joyner: Would all of the young ladies who are here today at our summit please stand? The internet is a space for knowledge, innovation, and discovery It is known as a window to the world, and can offer what seems like unlimited possibility and wonder But it also must always be used with caution and great understanding As a NOBEL Women 3G Girl, I am — please state your name, understand the proper function of the internet, and pledge to use it responsibility Furthermore, in partnership with NOBEL Women, I agree to the following: safe and responsible internet, and social media pledge I will not engage in distractive driving And I will explain, you will not engage in destructive activities while operating a motor vehicle These activities include texting, taking pictures, applying makeup, and any other activities that may take attention from preserving the safety of others Repeat after me: I will use the internet safely and responsibly I will elaborate You will not use the internet as a tool to impose harm on anyone else — to hurt someone else’s feelings, or to make someone feel inferior I will think critically — you will, about sites you frequent, and how much information that you share with others Now, repeat after me: I will not engage in inappropriate behavior when using a mobile or smart device I will explain to you what that means You are not to use any of your devices to engage in inappropriate or otherwise compromising activities that may place you or others in harm’s way Repeat after me: I will always help others That means that you will help your classmates, friends, and family members understand the use of technology and the internet, and why it’s important, so that knowledge is spread throughout your entire community, and so that you can grow together And finally, repeat after me: I will keep learning This means that you will keep learning about technology, and discover ways that it can improve your community, whether through responsible social media participation, app development, or digital innovation Girls, young ladies, you have taken this pledge, and we will hold you to it, for you are our future, and you are the future of the world Thank you (applause) Kalisha Dessources: So, it is now my pleasure to

introduce our panelists up here today So, we wanted to put in front of you some women who are leading the way within STEM fields throughout our government, and also, throughout the private sector, who can talk to you a little bit about their careers in STEM And you guys have the opportunity to ask them any questions that you have So, I’d to introduce, first and foremostly, our moderator, Ms. Loni Love (applause) You sit right in the middle Actress, comedian, and talk show host I’d like to introduce one of my colleagues, who I work very closely with on a lot of our STEM initiatives, Director Dot Harris, from the U.S. Department of Energy (applause) Hannah Clark, from I.T Computer Whiz Kids (applause) Yolanda Seabrooks, from Robertson Memorial Solar Scholars Funds (applause) And La’Shanda Holmes from NASA (applause) Loni Love: Hi, everybody Okay, you all having a good time so far? How did you all like the pledge? You all going to do it? You better do it (laughter) Don’t take your pictures, okay? — driving You all aren’t driving yet, but some of you all will be so, you know So, let’s get this started How did we want to do this, Stephanie? Okay Let’s get started with everybody maybe giving a quick introduction to themselves again, and the importance of STEM in their lives La’Shanda Holmes: Can you hear me, all the way in the back, everyone? All right My name is La’Shanda Holmes I’m a coast guard search and rescue and air intercept pilot by trade I’m actually a White House Fellow this year There are 16 of us We’re all placed at different places, different agencies, in the federal government, and this year, I’m placed at NASA, working for the director, Charles Bolden, who has been to space four times, 34 years in the Marine Corps Amazing guy I’m a graduate of Spellman College I don’t have a background in STEM, although my first two years, I was a biochemistry major, and then I decided to become a psychology major, but again, being in aviation and flying kind of brought me back to the STEM field So, thank you for allowing me to be here Loni Love: All right (applause) Ms. Dot? LaDoris Harris: I always have to start out with a quote, and it’s one of my favorite quotes my team knows I love, and it’s by Dr. Martin Luther King And it says, “Intelligence plus character is the true goal of education.” And that is why these amazing young ladies are here today And so, on the behalf of the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, I bring you greetings from the U.S Department of Energy My name is Dot Harris I’m the director of the office of economic impact and diversity Have been in the administration; I was nominated by the President in 2012 I was confirmed by the United States Senate, and I’ve been in the department for that time And my office focuses very closely on minorities, and underrepresented communities, and women We focus very heavily on minorities when it comes to education, businesses, community outreach I’m also head of diverse inclusion for the agency, civil rights for the agency, as well as EEO So, I wear a couple of hats I’m actually an engineer, electrical engineer Matter of fact, Loni and I have something in common — we both are electric engineers And we also have something else in common; we both are members of the sorority, delta — (applause) LaDoris Harris: AKAs — but I’ve had the pleasure of working — you know, first of all, it’s an honor to be in this administration, as part of the Obama administration But I have had the pleasure working in the private sector, so I’ve been an engineer, working for Fortune 500 companies, resting house,

ABB, General Electric I’ve also been a corporate officer I’ve been out — I’ve actually owned my own company, and then now working for government So, I’ve had the pleasure of both being in the public and private sector, and understanding how that fits — but more importantly, understand what I need to do and what we should do in promoting and supporting amazing young women like yourselves Thank you Loni Love: Hey, you look good in purple, too, girl You look good (applause) Hannah Clark: Hi My name is Hannah M. Clark I’m a junior computer science major at Howard University, and my STEM background is actually more fine arts based, and that’s one of the things I love about STEM is that it has an application in just about every field, and interdisciplinarianism is something that you can apply to your interest I’m also the co-found of a startup called Swipe Shark, and I founded a makers organization on campus called the Shaw Renaissance club Loni Love: All right (applause) Yolanda Seabrooks: Hi My name is Yolanda Seabrooks I am the program director with an organization called the solar foundation that’s based here in Washington, D.C And I lead a project called the Brian Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund We put solar on schools around the country We focus on solar for education for students — for K through 12 schools My background, prior to being on the non-profit side of things, is that I was with a commercial solar company for about 10 years I happened to fall into STEM, fall back into STEM fields, having been an English major and American Studies major in college, but came back to an industry that I came to love, and became very interested in because of the science background I had prior to college So, I’m really happy to see all of you, and I can’t wait to hear all of your questions Loni Love: All right So, get your questions ready, but I’ll start off with the first question, and anyone can just jump in Let’s just have a conversation — and that includes you guys So, if you feel something, please, you know, get your questions ready What is the best advice you can give to these young ladies in getting into the field of STEM? Any advice? LaDoris Harris: Well, you know, I would say, first of all, strive to be excellent at what you do It’s all — and it’s — you know, it — when you take all the difficult courses in high school and elementary school, middle school, and you allow yourself to have options Because that was my story I was planning on being an English teacher through school, and I had a lot of siblings that are teachers and principals And I wanted to be like my sisters and brothers And I took this trip, and I was introduced to engineering But fortunately, I had taken all the math and chemistry and physics and all So, for all of you, take the tough courses, so you can have that option if you wish to be an engineer Loni Love: All right Thank you Hannah Clark: I definitely kind of echo what she was saying is just like — just try it I meet a lot of freshmen — Female Speaker: Yes Hannah Clark: — I meet a lot of freshmen, who say, “Oh, I’ve been thinking about computer science, ” or “I always like computers.” And the first thing I say to them is, “Well, just take Into to Computer Science, you know?” You’ll still — it will count toward whatever degree you take But also, if you’re able to do something in high school, like I was able to I.T Computer Whiz Kids, you can know, even before you get to college, “Hey, this is something I like.” So — Loni Love: All right La’Shanda Holmes : I’d like to echo kind of the same When I made the decision to go to flight, I’d never looked at a plane or a — I fly helicopters I never looked at an aircraft and thought I could fly anything It never even crossed my mind And so, I joined the Coast Guard when I was in college, and after I had graduated, I had some time before becoming an officer And I was on a boat I loved being — we were under way for about three months, and someone came and stopped and said, “Hey, have you ever thought about flying?” I’m like, “No Don’t you have to be really smart to do that? Or go to the academy, or have a, you know, a technical background?” He’s like, “No, I’ve seen you working hard.” And so, fast forward I get to flight school I’m the only black person in my class I think there’s two females in there, but I’m the only black one And they were talking about Newton’s Law, and Bernoulli’s principle, and viscosity of fluid, and all this stuff that’s like, what? And I’m sitting in class with a straight face, trying to, you know, not let on to my other counterparts that I really — I had no clue, honestly I had no clue what they were talking about But what I did know is that I wanted it bad enough, and that I knew I deserved to be there, or they wouldn’t have allowed me to get that far So, I would get home at night and get on YouTube and look up people working — watching people work out equations, explaining why it made sense until I got it And that’s kind of how I got myself through flight school So, my advice is, like she said, just try it You never really know how smart you are, so don’t tell yourself “I can’t do it This is too hard.” Everything that’s worth anything is a little tough in the beginning, but look at where you could on the

other side of it if you just stayed focused and consistent, and keep with it Female Speaker: Yep Yolanda? Yolanda Seabrooks: And I would say, find something you can be really interested in, and really passionate about Because I think every lady up here has gotten where they are through a lot of hard work, and that means some sleepless nights and sacrifices that you have to make But find something that you really love, so that it’s not hard to stay up late to do it And whatever that is — and you may see a career that you say, “Oh, I heard about this career, but I kind of want to do it differently, but I’ve never seen anyone do it.” Do it anyway Make what you want Create the career that you want There aren’t any rules anymore that if you have — if you want to do a certain career, you have to go down a certain path Do — create what you want If you want to be a teacher and you want to write books and you want to fly planes, you can do it all All you have to do is — if that’s what you love to do, figure it out — like the other panelist was saying, go on YouTube, the internet — all of you, I’m sure, know how to find anything on YouTube, right? There’s a video for everything Even how to make — how to make a doll poop out pie if you want, right? (laughter) Right? There’s a video I have a seven year old, so I know, because she watched it the other day (laughter) So — but go out, find the resources There’s information everywhere Just find out for yourself, and you can create the future you want for yourself Loni Love: And don’t let money distract you Because, you know, a lot of people think, “Oh, I can’t find the money.” I grew up in the Brewster projects I had no money And I went and I got job at General Motors right after I graduated high school, and I had one semester’s worth of money And I found me a school — Prairie View University that graduated the most black engineers Because at first, I tried to go to a predominantly white college, and that didn’t work out for me It just didn’t I had to find someplace that fit me — and that’s another thing Find your college that will fit you I had that one semester’s worth of money, and I remember going down there, and I was telling my counselor, “I want to be an engineer.” And he tried to tell me all, “Oh, that’s a lot of math and science.” I said, “I don’t care if that’s a lot of math and science Get me my classes.” And so, that was the first time that I really applied myself, and I ended up getting all As and one B But then, the end of the semester came, and I realized, “I don’t have any money.” This same counselor that was questioning me called me right into the office right before the semester was about to end He said, “I looked at your grades and I applied you for a scholarship, and you got the scholarship.” And it paid for the rest of my college career, so believe me, there’s ways to get money out there (applause) Don’t let that hold you back, seriously So, we just did for this show — two weeks ago, we interviewed the First Lady of the United States She was — she has her new initiative called Better Make Room, and it’s really an initiative for you guys to go to college There’s funds out there that is out there that’s free, and you know, work with your parents to make sure that you guys fill out your FAFSA form, and get the money if you need the money And there’s also scholarships And for all you ladies that’s in junior high school and things, start working on that now, so that when you do graduate, there are funds available So, with that said, now, you have a wealth of experience up here You can ask any questions that you want, and this is your opportunity So, you can’t say we didn’t give you an opportunity So, who has the first question? Yes, ma’am Stand up Tell us your name Hi, Renee Female Speaker: Hey Female Speaker: Hey (laughter) — but I want to know, how did you like, change your career? Like, you say you were the — had all As and everything, and you always wanted to be an engineer So, how could you get into, like, tv and stuff — Loni Love: Well, the reason why I did take engineering — and Ms. Dot knows this, with engineering, it teaches you how to problem solve And if you want to go any direction, with electrical engineering especially, you can go So, I thought that I actually wanted to become an attorney So, I was going to get — I got my engineering degree based on the fact that oh, well, whatever direction — because I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, at least I had an engineering degree But I was also broke in college, that first semester And so, what I did to make extra money — one day, I was at, you know, this contest They had a contest at our little local hang out And they said, “We’ll give $50 for the person that has the best story.” And I needed the money because I needed to buy an English book And so, I just made up a story I don’t know what the story was about, but I won that $50 You’d be surprised what you’d do when you need some money But that introduced me to stand up So, I ended up getting my degree, but at the time, it was like, deaf comedy jam,

and I didn’t want to do that type of comedy So, I said, I’m going to have a backup, and I’m going to get my degree Because you know, black mamma is like, “No, you stay in college.” And so, I got my degree I got a job in Los Angeles, and I was an engineer for Xerox for eight years And then, during that time, I decided to make my transition, and I became a comic at night, and I was an engineer during the day And then, eventually, you know, I was able to transition when we had a layoff — I went to my boss and said, “Save a job, and lay me off, and I’ll try comedy.” But the reason why I was able to try it is because I had backup as an engineer Female Speaker: Thank you (applause) Loni Love: You’re welcome Questions? Yes? Oh You just got a lot of hair You’re just putting your hair around Okay, well — go ahead Hannah Clark: I would just like to kind of piggyback off of her life story basically, and say, you don’t have to do one thing in life You can major in something technical and love something creative Because she was able to choose, hey, I’m going to let go of this job But she had a job to let go of, versus you know, being desperate for something So, that’s always something I think is so important to remember Loni Love: And because I had the money, you know, I was able to pursue my other career But see, there are a lot of people that want to do creative things, and they don’t have the money to like — because it’s expensive to stay in Los Angeles So, you know, if — a lot of my friends who started out as comedians, they’re not — you’ve never heard of them, because they had to leave because they didn’t have jobs They didn’t have money to support their second career But you can always change LaDoris Harris: And I just — from a career standpoint; listen, I mean, when you guys come out of high school, you come out of college as an engineering — and engineering is still the highest paying — Loni Love: Yep LaDoris Harris: — career path you can take right out of college It still is And I had the pleasure, when having work during the summer as an intern, at one of our national labs, and I had the pleasure of having 13 job offers when I got out of college So, it made it really fun determining which job I wanted to take Loni Love: You had more than me I had seven (laughter) LaDoris Harris: So, it was fun, coming out with that And you — and what it also positioned on my first job — I was a field engineer with Westing House Electric in the nuclear industry — a lot of women, period So, you had a lot of visibility when you go out on these jobs And that’s the other thing You will probably want to take some risk in determining what you ladies want to do I mean, don’t be conservative, and just take a risk, and take a chance because it could pay off in the long run And the other thing I wanted to mention is just be who you are Remember to bring who you are to your jobs Don’t go to try to be like someone else because the — your bosses in the industry want that beautiful individual exactly who you are So, bring that — and that’s the diversity of the work force that they’re looking for now So, don’t just be — your bring your smarts, you bring that intelligence, plus character, like I mentioned, and you bring that, it’s going to be on, for the teachers and for the industry you go into Loni Love: I have a question How do you ladies handle being a black female in your fields? Have you experienced discrimination? How do you handle it? There’s some advice to give to the young ladies La’Shanda Holmes: It’s tough And I think, to — not to — I don’t want to say, you know, you should expect it But I think if you go into whatever your career or whatever kind of environment, just kind of keep that at — in the back of your mind, that you could be discriminated against It could be because you’re black, because you’re female, because you’re cute Whatever the case may be, it happens Loni Love: I had that all the time (laughter) La’Shanda Holmes: So, you just have to really have good — a good support system, and good mentors in your life who — so, if — for example, if something happens, and you feel you’re discriminated against, maybe take a step back in that moment Don’t really respond right then, and then you go and you strategize with your — you know, your support system, your mentors, your team, and then you come back the next day like, this is how I’m going to handle it, without being overly emotional about it, and you can still be professional But things like that happen It sucks; it shouldn’t, but you know, that’s kind of the world that we live in And if you kind of keep that in the back of your mind, and I think you’ll always to respond in an appropriate way Loni Love: Anybody else? Yolanda Seabrooks: Like — I guess for — I guess we’ll go around the table For me, listen, I was in the nuclear industry and all of — you know, there aren’t many women, period, whether black, white, or whatever And if you bring your confidence with it, and look, I’m from the south I’m a girl raised in the south, and down there, we say hello to everybody, so no one’s a stranger to me So — and it’s almost, when you work with different people, you have to make them as comfortable — maybe

you shouldn’t have to, but you typically have to — so, when people do work with people they know they’re comfortable with So, if you’re relaxed and cool-minded, and rolling with it, you won’t — you can ward off a lot of that wall of defense of people not being comfortable around you But yes, we — you have the discrimination You — having to prove yourself, and that’s what I dealt with a lot in the industry And one quick story I was heading onto a project, and I was — they assumed I was a guy My name was — my maiden name was Guess, and they said — and in the nuclear industry, power plants go down, they lose millions of dollars a day So, they literally put us on corporate jets to get to places We can’t wait for the regular airlines So, they said, “Mr Guess is on the plane Mr. Guess is coming to the site.” And then, I show up, and they said — and I open up the door in this war room and all these white males, and they said, “You’re here until Mr. Guess shows up?” And I looked like someone’s teenager back then And I gave them a big smile and said, “You’re looking at him.” And you know, it was that whole reaction and — (laughter) — you know, get on the phone, “I know you didn’t send this little girl here to start up my power plant.” And you know, and it was those kind of situations, but I proved myself, and ended up being the youngest manager in the history of that Westing House division because of the risk and the — (applause) Female Speaker: She has a question Female Speaker: (inaudible) Loni Love: Good question Thank you What influenced you to become what you are today? Yolanda Seabrooks: That side of the room Loni Love: Don’t get quiet, Yolanda Female Speaker: That was a hard question, right? (laughter) That was a good question I think there’s a number of things Definitely my mom, growing up I was raised in a single parent home I’m the oldest of three girls, and so, I was raised, you know, you have no choice but to be successful, because you have two little sisters that are looking at you Anybody older? Anybody a older sister? Do you hear that? You know your little sisters are looking at you You have to be great, because they’re going to be behind you They’re looking at everything you’re doing And if you do wrong, they’re going to want to do wrong So, I definitely took that seriously because I loved my sisters, and I wanted them to be successful And so, I knew I had to do well with everything I did And also, because I had a mom that sacrificed my mom I saw my mom work really hard Work long hours Come home late at night, leave early in the morning And so, I knew that everything I did, I — when I was in high school, my goal was to get a scholarship to college because I knew that I wasn’t go school, or it was going to be really hard if I didn’t get the scholarship, and I didn’t want to make it harder on my mom And so, I just knew — I said — I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I just knew I had to get really good grades, and do a lot of stuff Play sports, everything I could, so that I could get a scholarship to college so my mom didn’t have to worry about it And so, that was the proudest day of my life when I came down to here, to school, to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and I had a full ride to school And my mom didn’t have to worry about me And all she had to do was send me food once in a while Female Speaker: All right (applause) Hannah? Hannah Clark: I definitely have to say, my parents, to a great extent And then, also, being encouraged to think very critically about what I want to do as an adult And when I say, think about what I want to do, I don’t mean like — a lot of times, adults will say, kids will be like, “Hey, what do you want to do? You want to be a doctor? You want to be a lawyer?” And it’s just like, “Well, maybe that doesn’t fit who I am as a person.” And you can’t allow that pressure to make you only consider certain options for yourself And so, for a year, I thought I wanted to be architecture major And then, I was able to have experiences with programming, with I.T. Computer Whiz Kids, taking apart computers, and I was able to say, “Hey, this is something I’m curious about This is something I’m interested in.” And then, I learned all the applications of computer science But I think one of the most important things is just to explore what you’re interested in, and to be honest with yourself Because you don’t want to get into a situation where you’re pursuing something, and then you don’t know why you’re pursuing it So, you have to be honest You can’t allow your relatives, or somebody else, to say, “Oh, I think this is a good field for you.” Because it’s really about where your passion is, and where you’re willing to work the most hard So — Female Speaker: What are some of your passions out there? You had a question? Female Speaker: Yes Female Speaker: What’s your passion, sweetie? Yeah Do you have a passion Female Speaker: Zoology Female Speaker: Zoology? That’s really cool! (applause) Female Speaker: Architect Okay What else? Yes, ma’am? Female Speaker: Art Female Speaker: Art? All right (applause) Female Speaker: Me? I had a question

Female Speaker: Okay Female Speaker: My name is Leslie I’m a senior in high school, and I finally found what I really want to do, which is I want to pursue a major in English And — but I haven’t really found like, I don’t really know like, where I want to go, because I’ve heard so many stories about how college is hard, or college is easy And I haven’t decided if I wanted to go or stay home So, right now, I just have decided to stay home for college But what advice would you give someone who’s just — who’s still trying to figure out where they want to go, and who’s in college, and they’re struggling? Yolanda Seabrooks: I can relate to you because I didn’t — I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I went to school, and then I got there and took the class, and I just was like, “I hate this And I never want to do it again.” I thought I wanted to be a political science major And then, so, that didn’t work out And then, so, I was like, maybe I’ll be a history major And then, I took my first history class, and I hated that, too And then, so — I just didn’t know So, I would just say, the purpose of college, the point is — of a degree, is really to teach you how to think and how to learn, more so than anything Not just the subject matter And English is great, because there’s so many things you can do with it So, you don’t have to know right now, and that’s okay Just go to school Take the classes, and as someone else said before, if you see something that interests you, try it out Take a class in — anything Astrophysics, or anything Because you may take that, and then figure out, “Oh, this is something I’m interested in.” I actually wound up finding my major, because I went to a lecture One of the professors was talking about a practice called blockbusting that happened in the ’50s and ’60s where real estate agents would basically make people think that black people ruined the neighborhood You might have heard that, right? And they would sell — it’s a whole complicated thing, but anyway, I went to the lecture, and it was really interesting And the professor said, “I’m an American Studies professor, and this is what I teach.” And I thought, “You mean, I could study this? Like, this part of history? I’ve never heard of this before I thought this was history.” And that’s how I found my major So, it’s just about staying in school to learn — to learn how to think Every major’s going to teach you how to think, how to write critically, how to think critically And it’s just about getting the degree And then, most — there’re so many jobs that they just require a degree It doesn’t matter what the degree is in So, just get the degree And if you have time, you can figure out whether you want to specialize and go to graduate school, and go for a different discipline But I know so many people — I have friends who went to school as English majors, and then decide to go to medical school Or I have friends that went to medical — decided they — thought they wanted to be doctors, went to school, got a science degree, and then decided to go to law school So, there are no rules Just stay in school and try all the things that everything has said Just try until you find something But keep doing well with the things that you’re doing in the meantime LaDoris Harris: Well, like, we — at the Department of Energy, we actually have a way to help you with this, for the girls, since we’re talking about STEM today I have — with a couple of my colleagues here, Trina Bellah, as well as Amanda Quinones with the department And we’re having this amazing book that we’re coming out — the first of its kind, it will be focusing on for — hopefully, having in every middle school in the country, and what it is we’ll be showcasing women in STEM Every kind of — every ethnic background, every age group possibly And what it is, it has probably 500 profiles of women in every area possible — astrophysicists, microbiologists And these are real women at our — at the Department of Energy that we will use to help support and get young girls like yourself interested in seeing women that look like you We got — and they look like — everything from runway models, and they may have a Ph.D in microbiology, and doing work out in the renewable energy space So, this book will be out at — Secretary of Energy and everyone else is waiting for it to come out Matter of fact, the Academy of Science has heard about my book, and asked us to possibly use some of the characters for some blockbuster movies coming up You’ve heard the movie Thor, where it was based on an astrophysicist And so, it’s a book that we would get out, and it’s going to be lesson plans for teachers It will be interactions for the kids, for the students And it’s something — it has avatars, which will also be featured with this release So, it’s something that we will have available here, throughout the country, I would hope, in the next few months So — Female Speaker: All right (applause) Female Speaker: I just wanted to add one thing to your question about school Like I said earlier, my first two years,

I was a biochemistry major because I thought I wanted to be anesthesiologist So, I’d gone through foster care, and I’d gone through just a tough patch before I got to college And so, I just kind of had a conversation with myself Like, would I want to be a doctor, a lawyer? I guess I’ll be a doctor So, I was like, “Okay, I’m going to be a doctor I’m going to be biochem major.” And then, I got to Spellman, and into my sophomore year, I’m like, “I don’t even know if I like sat.” Nothing against — I know this is a STEM thing, but you know, I was like, “Am I, you know, am I really passionate about it?” Like, I was — I was making good grades, but I felt like I was doing it just to do it I didn’t really feel like my heart was there So, I changed my major to psychology because I wanted to open my own group homes, and I wanted to become a doctor, and kind of counsel And so, like she said, it’s okay to make those changes You’re young You have forever to figure it out Do put some thought into — you know, make it a thoughtful one, initially, but know that those things can change, and that that’s okay, as long as you’re open to different opportunities You know, other — as long as you apply yourself, and you study, you educate yourself, you do all those things you should do, there’ll be windows and doors of other opportunities that will open that you could take advantage of So, this is just the beginning Kick butt, you know, with — you said English, right? You’re going to love it And then if not, it’s okay You’ll love the next thing So — Hannah Clark: So, I got to throw something in there, because I just encounter so many college students who are freshmen, and I met a lot of people coming into Howard, is first of all, being practical I think your call to go to the place where you get the most scholarship money, honestly I think that is a sign of where you should go Second of all, a year or so ago, computer — some people from Howard University, we went to the Washington Post, right? There were people from the computer science department, and people from the English department And that was only about a month after the CEO and founder of Amazon bought the Washington Post — Jeff Bezos, right? And so, what did the people at the Washington Post tell us? They said, “We need people who can translate technology to the news format because we have to hit that sweet spot to make sure that we keep our readership up Because people aren’t buying the paper, but people need to consume our content And everybody has an iPad, an iPhone, or a computer.” And you know what they said to the computer science majors? They said, “If you want to work for us, not only we will hire you immediately, but we will send you to journalism school for free, and you come back and work for us, and have a guaranteed position.” So, just to put that out there, there are so many niche areas that are available that are applied to any field So, don’t fit yourself into STEM Fit STEM into what you already are Female Speaker: Oh, that’s a saying right there (applause) Don’t fit into STEM Let STEM fit — okay Yes, baby? Female Speaker: To piggyback off the last question, as a student, a black female student preparing for college, when looking at colleges, I am torn between going to an HBCU, and a PWI And I just wanted — since we have both on this — on the panel, I just wanted to know what your — if how your experiences at the specific college has impacted your life now? Female Speaker: Okay, everybody — (laughter) — okay, this is what I say Okay? Nothing is perfect And you cannot have it both ways So, you have to decide what it is more important to you You know, you have to decide what you’re going to college for Because what degree you want will significantly influence what college you go to So, if you’re applying — if you’re trying to like, study neuroscience, that’s going to put a lot of HBCUs out of consideration for you, just off the bat So, you have to be honest about that And you also have to consider what area you want to live in So, I think it’s more of a individual thing I would always recommend an HBCU — (applause) — because I love my HBCU And almost everybody I know, I’m just like, “Just consider it Just send it in one application You know, just try it!” And they’re just like, “I don’t know.” So — but then again, I realize it’s not for everybody So, you got to decide what’s most important to you And just visit an HCBU once, you know what I mean? Like, just think about it It’s just something about the environment of a HCBU that I just — it can’t be imitated at all Female Speaker: I definitely second that If you don’t know, Spellman’s a all-black women’s college in Atlanta I love Atlanta I love Spellman There is just something magical about that place They’re right across the street from Morehouse, which is all black men — (laughter) — and then, right across the street is Clark, which is co-ed I mean, it’s just amazing I would — and I’m still paying off some of my student loans Let’s just put that in there So, definitely — because I could’ve gone to school for free in North Carolina, but I’m like, you know, I want to get out of — I just had a lot going on, and I’m still happy about the decision that I made But I’m a big supporter of HBCUs Definitely go visit the campus It may not be for you, especially if it doesn’t fit the major that you’re kind of wanting to pursue,

I wouldn’t suggest it, but otherwise, I definitely say, go to an HBCU LaDoris Harris: I guess for me, when I was studying electrical engineering — I’m from South Carolina, and my — a lot of my siblings had gone to an HBCU, and I wanted to, but they didn’t have a four year degree engineering school, so I was really forced to go to the University of South Carolina to get my degree But my son’s a Morehouse graduate, and you know, half my kids are But listen, it depends — the beauty about HBCUs is that they — when I use that term again, intelligence plus character, these HBCUs help build your character Your culture and your character in these schools And it’s an amazing difference when you go into — matter of fact, a lot of the students going to the HBCUs are the ones that feed in and more successful when they go to the majority schools for advanced degrees, for example So, that’s well known But you just got to, you know, check off some of the things that we mentioned Female Speaker: You have a question, right, young lady? Female Speaker: (inaudible) Loni Love: You want — you’re interested in arts? Female Speaker: Liberal arts school? Loni Love: Yeah Yeah, liberal arts school Like, if you Google different liberal arts schools, you can find a list And then, like the lady said, it’s really important to, you know, go on college tours And I think that that will really help you, where you can actually get a feel of the campus, and get a feel of the curriculums, and ask your questions before you make your decision Female Speaker: A lot of the — Female Speaker: Or if you have any — oh, sorry Female Speaker: — yeah, a lot of the HBCUs are liberal arts schools, so — LaShanda Holmes: Or if you have any mentors, or if your parents know anyone who’s kind of into the arts, if you know anyone who’s doing kind of what you’re doing, maybe you could kind of pick their brain about how — what schools they went to, why, and what advice they’d have for you Yolanda Seabrooks: And if you don’t know anyone, maybe if there’s an artist that you like — whether you’re painting or whatever type of art you like, look at what’s out there, and if there’s someone whose art you really like, find out where they went to school Loni Love: Right there Female Speaker: Was it hard for you to work while you were in school? Loni Love: Was it hard for you to work while you were in school? I did a little bit of everything because I just needed the money I was in marching band I was the flag girl I was working in cafeteria I was like, you know, Jamaican I had 15 jobs in college, so — (laughter) La’Shanda Holmes : I worked — I did work study, and I worked at Nine West, and then I joined the Coast Guard, so I was doing some of that work And it’s not work I didn’t have a ton of a social life at times, but I — that was just part of what I was willing to give up Loni Love: I think that keeps you focused, too When you’re working like that, and then you have your studies, it really keeps your focused So, don’t be afraid of work Yolanda Seabrooks: And I’m like Loni I did everything in school I worked anywhere, anybody that would give me a job Because even though I had a scholarship, I really liked to eat And so, I needed pizza money, and so, I worked to make sure that I didn’t have to eat in the cafeteria when I didn’t want to because college food may not be that great LaDoris Harris: I guess I had the — I had worked I had worked as an intern during the summer at the Savannah Railroad Laboratory So, they paid us outrageous monies during the summer that kind of was able to cover me through the school Loni Love: You know, you don’t have to brag, Dot Harris (laughter) Female Speaker: Everybody has it different, I guess Loni Love: Yes, sweetie? Female Speaker: Did you like being in the Coast Guard? Loni Love: Did you like being in the Coast Guard? La’Shanda Holmes : Yeah I’m actually still in the Coast Guard This summer will be 11 years I’m just not flying this year because I have the fellowship But I primarily — I joined the Coast Guard because they offered me a full scholarship The Coast Guard has a great scholarship program plug So, I joined, and at the time, Spellman was about $20, $29,000 a year So, for someone to pick up the full bill and pay me a salary I got paid on the 1st and the 15th as a full time working person, and I only worked five hours a month It just completely made sense to me So, in my mind, I thought I could join the military, join the Coast Guard, which was the furthest thing from my mind at the time But join, do my three year obligation, get out, go to grad school, and go on with my life But the Coast Guard has offered me some amazing opportunities They sent me to flight school to learn how to fly airplanes first, then helicopters I flew out of L.A. for a few — L.A. is amazing — it’s expensive, but amazing And then, flying out of Atlantic City, and then to here in D.C. And now, I have the opportunity to do the fellowship So, I’ve got nothing but great things to say about the Coast Guard Loni Love: All right Wait a minute, I think you were first Female Speaker: Good afternoon My name is Courtney (inaudible) I am the NAF Engineering Academy director at (inaudible) high school (applause) Female Speaker: Say it one more time That was a lot

Female Speaker: The NAF — National Academy’s Foundation, Engineering Academy Director Female Speaker: All right So, I have about 114 students in the academy, and one of our issues, of course, is the interest in the academy So, we’re just trying to bridge that gap between middle and high school students, especially girls, we only have about 30 girls of that 113 in the academy But I think one of our bigger issues is engaging the parents to support the students So, what advice do you have to provide, I guess, information and to receive engagement for parents to motivate their young ladies to stay in the STEM fields? Loni Love: Dot, you could answer that LaDoris Harris: Yes (laughter) Yes, I can I think my office support (inaudible), we actually support your school We have a lot of literature that we have at the Department of Energy We have grants, we have funds, we have — matter of fact, we have the National Science Bowl is coming up for the middle schools and high schools in the D.C. — it’s a national bowl, but we have literature for you We have support, and some funding Yeah, so give us — give us a buzz See those two ladies right over there? Female Speaker: We got to get girls to got to Mars I mean, NASA’s on a journey to Mars We need mission specialists, geologists, mathematicians, aviators You know, we’re going to be sending humans to Mars from U.S. soil in the 2030s, and it’s going to be the women that are your age that are going to be doing those missions So, all the more reason why we need you guys in STEM careers Loni Love: Okay, we have about five minutes left, so real quick You Female Speaker: (inaudible) La’Shanda Holmes : Well, my mom was in the Air Force My dad was a Marine, my little sister’s in the Navy And so, I’ve been able to — well, I — she just — she joined the Navy because she said their uniforms are cuter than the Coast Guard, and so — she’s regretting that now, because she’s been on a boat for about nine months, and I told her she’s not going to like it Female Speaker: Is that boat cute? La’Shanda Holmes: It isn’t cute It isn’t cute So, I wanted to join the Coast Guard because I remember when I was young, my mom, she’d get deployed to — she went to desert storm, and a couple other places, and I’d have to stay with the grandparents And I didn’t know when I was going to have a family I didn’t really want to deploy I knew I didn’t want to be a Marine Some people are into that, but I didn’t want to get shot at And so, the Coast Guard, we do — we’re pretty police of all the waters So, somebody is trying to smuggle drugs or migrants in, we’re the ones that go out there Hurricane Katrina type disasters, we rescue folks out there We’ve done rescues off of cruise ships — women going into labor, or just having a stroke on a boat, or something We do — like, if there’s big oil spills and everything, the aviation side, we kind of do some reconcepts So, the missions of the Coast Guard really excited me, and I knew that I could stay close Like, my dream sheet coming out of the fellowship is Miami, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Savannah, Houston I was in L.A Like, it’s pretty cool, you know, stations to be at because we’re on the coast, and protecting, you know, domestically around the coast So, those are some of the reasons why I chose the Coast Guard Loni Love: Real quick Yeah? Female Speaker: (inaudible) Hannah Clark: What is your question specifically about Howard? Female Speaker: (inaudible) Hannah Clark: I would just say, their science program is really good There are a lot of research opportunities at Howard University It’s pretty nice because we’re not a big college, but we’re not a small college So, you can kind of fit in where you’re comfortable There are research programs that kind of dip a little bit into engineering, and there’s a nanotechnology lab and engineering building, but there’s also purely science research opportunities And also, we’re directly connected with the Howard University med school as well So, I don’t know if you’re interested in med school or not, but I definitely recommend it Loni Love: Real quick We got you These three, and that’s it Okay, I’m sorry I told you — you all was going to have questions Real quick, sweetie Female Speaker: (inaudible) really easy to get caught up (inaudible) — Loni Love: How did you manage your time in college? One person Not a lot of sleep Female Speaker: She said not a lot of sleep Yolanda Seabrooks: You have to sacrifice sleep sometimes to get your work done Because it is a lot You’re juggling courses, and you do have to make sacrifices sometimes So, you may not be able to do all the social things you want, but you have to remember why you’re there And your goal is to be successful, to get a degree And you stay focused on that, and if you have to do energy drinks or whatever — but you just — you have to, just sometimes, you can’t — there’s just too much to do in a day to get all the eight hours of sleep you want every night Loni Love: Sweetie with the glasses? Female Speaker: How do you — like when school gets harder, how do you keep like your grades up? Because I heard you could get a scholarship if you have good grades, and I want to get into a good school, so I want to keep my grades up — Hannah Clark: You have to respect how you study

Everybody studies differently I have friends that I know, they don’t hardly have to study They all get A’s Me? I spend all day in the library I have to take notes I have to Google things And that’s what it takes for me to get an A So, I have to respect that for me, I need that time in the library, and I can’t try to act like my friend acts Because everybody learns differently And in a history class, it’s very easy When I take physics, I got to go to the physics lab I got to go get tutoring It’s not going to come immediately for me So, you have to realize what it takes for you, and just put that time in there And don’t get discouraged because it will pay off, and you’ll catch up to the people who you think are always ahead of you Female Speaker: Let me give you one technical fact Women’s IQ is at least two or three points higher than that of a male So, just push it, and you’ll get it (laughter) (applause) Female Speaker: They’re going to let me get in these last two Okay, you in the purple Female Speaker: I know I still have a lot of time to think about what I want to do, but one of my passions, I think, is teaching Female Speaker: That was your comment? All right, girl! Good All right, sweetie You’re the last one Female Speaker: Okay So, I just wanted to know, what exactly was your big, like, influence on you guys for your big break? So, like, I know everyone has some type of big impact where they’re thinking, “Oh, this is what I really want to do.” Or “This is exactly where I want to be, you know, for the rest of my life.” So, I want to know what exactly impacted you all on your career? Loni Love: Ladies, quickly La’Shanda Holmes: Real quick So, I got off the boat after the conversation about have I ever thought about aviation? I said no So, we pulled into Seattle I heard that there was another — one black female pilot in the Coast Guard who lived in Clearwater, Florida I flew out to meet her I kind of stalked her online She said I could come meet her And I met here, and from then, I knew that I could pursue flying She was cool Another black woman, cool — we went out dancing She’s from Jamaica She took me to her parents’ house They cook — like, just being around someone that, in my mind, they’re like, oh, so smart, and doing something that I could never do, like this big, intimidating thing And it completely wasn’t that She was — her and I are the best of friends now She lives here in D.C Like, she’s awesome And so, just seeing her, and after going out flying with her, I knew that I could do it, too LaDoris Harris: My 10th grade chemistry teacher influenced me Loni Love: All right Hannah Clark: After being able to participate in a program in high school called I.T Computer Whiz Kids, I had to learn how to program, and then, researching computer science, I really value flexibility And that was really what made one of the biggest impressions on me, aside from enjoying technology Yolanda Holmes: I wouldn’t say I’ve never had one moment that told me what I wanted to do, but I’ve always known that I’m someone that just wants to try everything And so, what’s nice is that we don’t live in a world where you have to — whatever you do out of college, you have to do for the rest of your life So, I started out being a corporate trainer, and that didn’t work And so, I tried something else And then, that didn’t work so well, either, and I tried something else And now, I got in solar, and now I love it So, you can do any number of things that have any number of careers that you have Loni Love: That was excellent Give these ladies a hand clap Thank you (applause)