My first experience with science occurred on the far South Side of Chicago in the Altgeld Gardens Housing Project, forging through the Beaubien Forest Preserve, looking for plants and insects to take home and observe with my family.
That family support allowed me to thrive in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) science courses and the CPS Science Fair. My science teachers—Ms. Mason and Ms. Turner at Laura Ward Elementary, Mr. Watson at Orr High School and Ms. Shibiyama at Sullivan High School—provided opportunities for me to develop science techniques and content knowledge while building my confidence.
This confidence allowed me to be resilient in an often exclusive science culture that says, ‘Black students don’t ‘do’ science.’ After majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I decided to teach high school science to Chicago’s youth to empower students of color to know that they can ‘do’ science, and they belong in science.
I am Black History because, just like my ancestors, I am a reminder that Black people can and ‘do’ science!
Nina Hike is a science teacher at Curie High School.