Paying It Forward: How One Doctor Uses Children’s Books to Promote Science Careers

Dr. Oneeka Williams made a childhood dream reality, inspiring other girls of color around the world

You talked about having a passion for giving back and helping others. This book seems to be a way to do that. Talk more about your book and the inspiration in writing it.

By the time girls of color get to middle school … there’s a perception that’s already been established that girls aren’t good at math and already this worldview, whether it’s [attributed to] the media, stereotypes or [challenges with] how to integrate and interface with teachers in the school system.

Studies have shown that when you ask a [young] girl to draw what a scientist looks like, they draws a white man with a white coat and glasses. They already have this perspective that this is not what we do. We have to shift the perspective and belief system of our kids from the time they can be read to, and if we create a framework where we are imprinting on them that you can excel at science and math and show them characters who look like them, this creates a role model that says this is not extraordinary or unusual, this is something that you can do that is enjoyable.

It’s one opportunity to give them another way of looking at themselves and the world of science. [This project] has allowed me to make an impact on all of these with the intent to help to motivate a generation of kids who believe in themselves and see powerful images. I am in constant belief that our kids are powerful and that they will respond when we challenge them. We have to believe their potential.

Learn more about Dr. Williams’ books and the ambitious star of the series Dr. Dee Dee, below:

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