Lunar and Planetary Institute

LPI Welcomes Education Specialist Sha’Rell Webb!

November 25, 2019

 Sha'Rell Web with students

LPI:  How did you become interested in STEM, and when did you know that you wanted to pursue STEM as a career?

SW:  Great question. I’ve always loved science and math, primarily because of my teachers! I grew up in a small town, which allowed me to develop great relationships with my teachers. As I got older, I figured out my strengths and pursued science as a secondary educator. Nursing and taking care of others is still a passion of mine.

LPI:  Did you have a mentor or another person in your life who was influential to your decision/career?

SW: Not just one person, but many! I always view people and situations as lessons, good or bad. If I had to choose one person, it would be my mother. She had a heart of gold and never allowed any situation or circumstance to slow her down.

LPI:  What do you like most about working in Education and Public Engagement?

SW:  The people I get to meet, by far! It’s amazing to be surrounded by the scientists who are responsible for the research that scholars are taught about in the classroom. It’s a privilege to be a part of  space exploration endeavors.

LPI:  What do you find is the biggest misconception the public has about STEM, and how do you think we can change this?

SW:  Oh wow, the biggest misconception I hear would be, “I’m not smart enough to work in STEM” or “I can’t afford to have a STEM career”. Many students fear one or the other. I believe that continued outreach and public engagement will decrease this misconception. As an education specialist, I visit and share what the Lunar and Planetary Institute has to offer with the public, so we can start to decrease those misconceptions.

LPI:  Which current technology is the most useful/vital to education? Which do you predict will become more important/influential in the future?

SW:  Computers and robots — Students who are willing to learn how to code are going to rule the world. Coding will be essential to everyday tasks as we continue to integrate advance technologies in our daily activities.

LPI:  How can we all increase our scientific literacy? What’s the best way to support science and education in our families and our communities?

SW:  I believe that attending local and national workshops will increase our scientific literacy. Here at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, we have multiple public engagement events for all ages. I encourage everyone to subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates about our free lecture series and Sky Fest events.

LPI:  Share a hobby or interest outside of work.

SW:  Outside of LPI, I have my own business, “Coding with a Twist”. Coding with a Twist introduces underestimated students to the world of computer science, coding, and robotics. I facilitate after-school programs, Saturday pop-up workshops and professional developments. It’s amazing what our youth can do with encouragement and guidance. I am also a board member of a nonprofit organization, Black Girls Do Engineer Corporation, which is to increase the presence of Black-American women in STEM related fields by providing experience-based knowledge, career path insight, and mentor-ship to young girls, beginning from ages 9 to 21.


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