10 Feb 2022

5 Facts I Learned While Writing A Book About Black Women In STEM


Hi. My name’s Lauryn and I’m a published author. This is the first time I’m typing that out and I’m grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

For my book, The Shuri Effect: Bridging the Gap for Young Black Women in STEM, I read loads of research, interviewed many generous Black women and reflected on my own STEM journey. All that (and many edits later), we have a book. These are 5 facts I learned while writing it.

1. Too little research exists about Black women

It was frustrating and upsetting to realise how little research exists about a whole group of people. Research is one of many ways we decide what and who matters. Being absent from research is dangerous and disrespectful.

research purposes gif | Stemettes Zine

2. Black women have a rich past and present in STEM

Before I saw Hidden Figures, I did not know of any Black Women who were Mathematicians. Luckily, I have found many role models since then. I spoke to over 30 Black women and many were kind enough to allow me to quote them. They make me feel less alone and they inspire me to no end. Check out a free bonus chapter for my book to meet a few of my heroes.

3. Crazy things happen when women are not invited to the spaces of innovation

One of my favourite chapters to write is titled ‘Building the world for the default white male’. The silly and dangerous gaps include everything from computer databases not recognising that someone with their gender listed as ‘female’ can also have the title ‘Dr.’ to blood oxygen monitors underperforming on people with darker skin tones.

4. It’s a question of widening access and aspirations

Closing the gap is a complicated issue but it comes down to two central things. We need to inspire girls to consider STEM and show them that it’s an exciting space and they are welcome to it. At the same time, to close a historic gap, we need to proactively create opportunities specifically for girls. Race, class, ability and all other factors considered as well, to close the intersectional gaps.

5. You are not alone

The book writing process gave language to my feelings; words to describe what I felt and practical ways to push back. I was interviewing people for the book and I soon realised that the interviews were changing me; my thoughts, my confidence and aspirations. If you feel alone or confused, don’t worry. People out there get you. I left tonnes of long quotes in the book that I hope make all my readers feel less lonely

Good luck with your STEM journey and always remember to do what you can to open the doors to others. I’m rooting for you xx

you got this gif | Stemettes Zine

Read a free chapter from Lauryn’s book >>

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