Feature written by Quan P. (Founder of BLACKAMAZING)
Stephany Lowe is on a mission to make science a daily conversation. Based in San Diego, California, The Dope Science Show podcast reflects her passion for science and features black entrepreneurs.
Lowe also runs a separate Instagram called Science Stuff With Steph, where she shares educational clips about interesting topics like “Why Can’t Apes Speak.”
She is known for making the process of understanding complex science, easy and incredibly fun.
The 2016 film Hidden Figures detailed the untold story of three mathematicians and scientists at NASA. It proved that back then and even today, women in science are often not given the credit and recognition that they deserve.
We caught up with Stephany Lowe to discuss what inspired her to launch a science lifestyle brand, how she discovered her passion and her thoughts on the representation of black scientists.
What sparked this idea and when did you decide to pursue it ?
A few years ago, I was looking for a creative outlet. Over the years I had watched creative people find success on YouTube and I secretly wanted to do the same thing. I thought, this will give me an outlet to be creative and to geek out about science and share that excitement with people.
I also wanted to change the narrative around science. I want science to be relatable to everyone. I want to take the elitism out of science and share more stories about women and people of color in science.
I created a science themed lifestyle brand, The Dope Science Show. Currently we have a podcast and share short videos about everyday life and science. We are all dope scientists.
When did you discover your passion for science?
During my late twenties I stepped out of my comfort zone and started to take risks. At one point during the recession, I saw a flyer at the local employment office, that was recruiting for interns to work at the local nuclear plant, The San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station, in San Clemente, CA.
The local community college, Mira Costa Community College was a part of prestigious program that trained people to work in the nuclear energy industry.
At that time, I had never passed a math class the first time around, nor did I have a strong interest in science. I still decided to compete for the scholarship and internship. I needed a change, I knew that I needed to develop new competitive skills. I am pretty good at cramming, so I watched YouTube math tutorials, memorized cheat sheets and practiced for 3 weeks. Long story short, I passed all the tests, essays and the interview and I was accepted into the program.
Over the next two years I struggled through the program. I was working full time, with no car and juggling mom duties. I led weekly study groups, paid classmates to record the classes that I could not attend, and I paid for rides to class. I was exhausted but so happy and motivated by my progressive achievements. With the help of friends, family and teachers, I finished the program.
But just as I finished the program, the nuclear power plant shut down and I was devastated. During this journey I had fallen in love with science. Science inspires in me, big picture thinking, hope and possibility. So, I decided to share science with other people.
What are your thoughts on the representation of black scientists in the media? Growing up, I never thought about black people and science. I remember seeing Meteor Man and the Nutty Professor. Now, we have Neil Degrasse Tyson, Moon Girl (Marvel comic book), Bernard Lowe (WestWorld), played by Jeffrey Wright and I am sure there are more. I would love to find or build a directory of black scientists in the media.
What are some of your fondest memories involving science? I remember being a kid and making ice cream with ice, salt and a plastic bag. My nuclear science classes were very interesting. Buying my daughter’s first science experiment kit and watching her play scientist on our balcony when she was 3 years old and making messy experiments.
Which “dope scientist” do you admire the most? Right now, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Ainissa Ramirez are my role models, as scientists and science communicators. I am thrilled to see Jeannette Epps become the first black astronaut on the international space station.
What is the most rewarding part of running The Dope Science Show? The constant learning curve. I love the challenge and the progression. Engaging people in conversation about science and seeing the wonder in their expressions when they talk about science. It reminds me of hope and possibility.
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