This episode we discuss the practice of urban foraging. That act of harvesting wild grown food is a practice as old as humanity. From society’s earliest days, we have depended on the fruits, nuts, berries, and herbs we’ve found along the way to secure our food supply. Although, a recent surge in popularity of foraging in cities and a lasting legacy of racist and classist laws often prevent some groups from foraging in public spaces. This episode unpacks why and how we forage and recommends some interesting research papers that discuss an ideal future of foraging laws.
This episode we chat about dance as a consideration in urban design. In China, millions of residents participate in urban dance as a way to enhance their health and foster social connection. These groups practice in parks and ‘waste spaces’ around cities, accompanied often by live music. However, this practice has run into some resistance from the central and city governments. Complaints of too much noise have forced cities to ban these dancing retirees to parking lots and bridge underpasses. But the dancers persist, sometimes as an act of resistance. We unpack all that an more this episode of STEMS and Leaves.
In this episode, Sujata Emani and I spend a good amount of time discussing women of massive determination and how we work everyday to emulate their example. Sujata also shares some insight into her identity as a caregiver for her grandmother; an identity that was chosen for her and certainly changed the trajectory of her life in her mid-twenties.
Coral Torres is without a doubt one of the coolest engineers I’ve ever met. She exudes confidence in herself and her work; all the while remaining truly humble. It was a pleasure to join her for an afternoon at the Surface Transportation Board offices and learn a bit about her niche in the industry. Coral’s official title is ‘Transportation Industry Analyst’, which she explains in this episode. More broadly speaking, she analyzes data to interpret railroad performance in a regulator capacity (if that sounds a little out of your depth, Coral explains it much better than I do!). She also shares how her identity as a Hispanic woman has shaped her experiences in Engineering. The transition from undergraduate studies in Puerto Rico to a master’s program in upstate New York was incredible and Coral describes some of the culture shock moments she experienced.
Another interview out of DC this week, my guest Shauna has worked as a freelance programmer for 9 years. She left neuroscience after a long reckoning with the uncertainty. Shauna found herself challenged by a big question: How do we quantify and understand the vast potential of human behavior with hard tools? Maybe we can’t. Or at least not in the ways we want to. Shauna and I discuss these interesting ideas from her work and how she’s grown professionally. We also touch on the significance of queer identities in these spaces and handling mental health. I was curious to know how she keeps herself accountable and practices self-care in a sometimes isolating work space. Shauna tells me all her great tips and tricks as she continues her journey of growth and learning. Discussed this episode:
The Aviation industry has long been notorious for low minority participation. Christy Gerencher has been in aviation since day one. Since she was old enough to drive herself to flying lessons, she knew that she would be in the industry in some capacity. Over the course of her career, she has stepped away from flying and focused on research. Currently Christy holds position as a Senior Program Manager in the Transportation Research Board, overseeing committees that organize research in aviation and highway based environmental science. In our conversations, she shares how the industry has changed and the many great experiences she’s had in private and non-profit ventures.
This episode features Dr Amber Woodburn McNair of the Ohio State University. She serves as an assistant professor in the Knowlton School as well as the Center for Aviation Studies (both within OSU’s College of Engineering. We sat down to discuss Dr Woodburn’s research and experiences in academia and how her identity and presentation as a woman has affected her journey. She also shared some wonderful advice about navigating the murky waters that await after graduation and the importance of keeping the hustle strong.
This episode I was excited to sit down with my friend Donna and chat about LGBT+ identities in the workplace. Donna has worked in Tech for a number of years and has experienced many situations in which she had to advocate for herself or a coworker in matters relating to LGBT+ identity. We also reflected on how to practice self-care in the workplace and Donna shared some advice she wishes her younger self had known.
Hi there! Welcome to STEMS AND LEAVES, the site where you can keep up on latest episodes of my podcast, extra stories that didn’t make the final cut, and cool resources for the STEM-curious.
The idea behind STEMS & LEAVES is to share stories in a space that fosters honest curiosity and leaves conflict at the door. My journey through my identities has been complex and I’ve always wondered who else had the same questions and felt like they didn’t have the space to ask. I hope you’ll join in each episode to hear from our super cool guests and maybe contribute a question or comment.
Links to listen are included in each episode post.