Throughout my career I’ve always had a passion for promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in underrepresented communities. In this day and age, we all hear people tell young children they can be anything they want to be, but in actuality, many of them don’t pursue their dreams, either because they don’t have the opportunities available to explore them, don’t see role models that represent themselves or simply don’t think they belong.
What is a scientist? A person in a white lab coat and protective goggles? A person examining a slide with a microscope? A person sitting at a computer crunching numbers? A scientist is every one of these things and so much more. Today, the people I meet don’t necessarily know or believe that I am a scientist, but my degrees and experience will tell you otherwise. I’m a trained seismologist with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geophysics, yet my career today and my role at CoreLogic is primarily communications, a role I wouldn’t be in were it not for my science background, degrees and experience.
As a woman scientist, I hit many roadblocks throughout my career, and often felt like I didn’t belong. My husband, a Black man with a background in electrical engineering, computer science and cyber forensics has shared similar stories with me. Together, we didn’t often work with others who looked like us or shared our backgrounds. I share our stories because I know we are not alone, and it’s what drives me to volunteer and promote STEM far and wide.
In mid-July, CoreLogic teamed up once again with Project Scientist, a STEM camp for those who identify as female or non-binary, ages 4 to 12, and I was quick to jump in and help. CoreLogic has a longstanding relationship with Project Scientist, and this is the second Summer STEM Expedition we have sponsored. Project Scientist’s mission is to expose a diverse population of young kids to a high-quality STEM academy that inspires confidence in their pursuit of learning throughout the year. Our $25,000 donation helps to sponsor scholarships for those attending.
This year, the theme for our week of Project Scientist was climate change. Our team of volunteers introduced these young scientists to natural hazards, geographic information systems (GIS) and data science. More than 40 CoreLogic colleagues from across science and analytics, the enterprise data group, the technology solutions group, insurance and spatial, and human resources jumped in to be a part of this exciting program.
This year, we led two expeditions, spotlighted some of our own STEM Superstars, and hosted a Family Night where the parents could join, learn more about CoreLogic and ask our STEM superstars some questions. The expeditions were an opportunity for us to highlight how climate change is impacting the world around us.
Our first adventure highlighted GIS and natural hazards. The team took Project Scientist on an adventure across the country to pick their dream home, searching locations at the beach in Florida, in the country in Oklahoma, by a lake in California and in a city in Texas.
For each of these sites our resident meteorologist, Curtis McDonald, jumped in with some interesting facts about hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and floods and talked about how events are becoming more frequent and more extreme because of climate change. With all these factors in mind, looking at distinct kinds of houses, the girls were able to learn what make a safer property in high-risk areas.
In our second adventure, these scientists became wildfire detectives using data science and analytical models to determine which locations had the greatest wildfire risk.
This is one of my favorite programs that CoreLogic participates in, and I am thrilled to be a part of it, knowing that these girls, so much like myself, have real, live scientists around them to show that anything really is possible.
A little bit of inspiration can go a long way. I encourage you to find opportunities to volunteer, whether with a CoreLogic sponsored program like this, or with something in your community. You never know what impact you may make on someone else.
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