Charice Chever is a STEM Program Specialist at Boyd Elementary School in Atlanta, and was kind enough to share with us how her childhood fascination with the world encouraged her to help ensure all students get the exciting hands-on Science they need early and often.
Charice has earned many awards, grants and accolades including Atlanta Public School Science Ambassador, Institute on Neuroscience Teacher at Georgia State University, U.S. Naval Academy STEM Program Participant, and K-12 STEM Innovation Summit Presenter.
“As a child, the two subjects I enjoyed the most were science and math. Probably because I had incredible teachers who shared their passion in creative ways which got me excited too. Learning how biology, chemistry, and environmental science are at work in the world around us made them some of my favorites, and to this day, I consider myself a passionate student of those subjects.
Most of my real-world science experiences happened outside of school — family vacations, field trips, and summer camps. On vacation, I always wanted to collect rocks and/or seashells and try to name them. On school field trips, I wanted to sit in the front of the presentation and ask all the questions. I was lucky to have teachers that nurtured all of my curiosities.
I had a host of teachers who helped influence my love for science at an early age. They nurtured my passion by sharing several camps and mentorship opportunities that allowed to explore several fields of science.
You might think I became a STEM teacher because I loved mine so much, but it didn’t start out that way. In elementary school, I wanted to become a doctor. So my mom bought me doctor kit and I actually did a career project on medicine as well. It fascinated me seeing cells under a microscope, dissecting a frog, working in the chemistry lab, and participating in science field trips. My interest in becoming a doctor grew when I learned about Mae Jemison. An African-American female engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut, she became the first black woman to travel into space. She was such an inspiration to me at an early age. Seeing her travel to space and learning about her life as a doctor and scientist made me believe that I can do it too!
In the end, I decided to contribute to STEM right here on earth, where I get to inspire and empower my students every day. I tell girls in my class ‘You have the ability to be anything you want to be. No matter your ethnicity or socio-economic status, the sky is the limit. Do not be intimidated about the shortage of female scientists in certain science careers…be bold and
take the non-linear path…trust the process. It is hard to be what you cannot see, so work hard to make it happen and the others that come behind you will know that it can be done!”
It is important to have women in STEM fields to show other younger women and girls that it can be done. Students are inspired to achieve their goals when they have someone they aspire to be. But not only will women benefit from pursuing STEM fields, STEM fields will benefit from actively including more women. Creative ideas, solutions, and innovations are needed to meet the needs of women. When women are in the STEM fields it will stimulate more growth and expansion for all women in general. Most studies are conducted based on the male populations, were women are not considered. More women in STEM fields will bring about dramatic changes to gender inequality-socially, economically, and culturally.