Black physics Ph.D.s are more than twice as likely as other groups to teach in high schools and community colleges. For many, it’s a mission.
For years, Maritza Tavarez-Brown couldn’t talk about the end of her astronomy career without tears. She’d wanted to be an astronomer since high school. But she struggled in her introductory physics classes at Yale University. At one point, she remembers, the department chair told her she should reconsider her major. Determined, she transferred to New York City’s Hunter College, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics, and completed a Ph.D. on the properties of dark matter halos at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She was offered a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, the kind of prestigious apprenticeship that could catapult her to an academic faculty position.
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