This brief article features an interview with Lola Fatoyinbo, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, as she answers questions about her background, her fieldwork in Madagascar, and her career path.
Students will be inspired as they learn about an African American woman in STEM, the obstacles she overcame, what it took to achieve her goals, and her passion for Earth Science.
This article is motivating and inspiring and is also able to be downloaded.
Lola discusses her passions, obstacles, gender barriers, and gives career advice to students.
Show students where Benin and Ivory Coast are located on a map and provide some background information on deforestation and pollution in these countries.
Provide some background information on what kind of work a research scientist might do since the interview focuses more on her experiences, influences, and reflections.
Since the article is short and is written in interview format, consider having students listen to the interview read aloud once, followed by an independent reading of the material.
Consider using this resource in career conversations or advisory times with students.
Provide some specific prompts for students to answer in groups after reading this interview, including how students would have felt during Lola's most difficult moment in Madagascar, how her response to the situation shifted her future, or one way students could put Lola's advice into practice in their own lives.
In Language arts classes, students could write a response paper that focuses on the key points made by the interviewee and the students' reflections on the interview.
For classes planning to take a deeper dive into gender justice or environmental conservation in other parts of Africa, consider using this lesson plan about the work of African environmentalist, Wangari Maathai.
This article is a short biography and interview with Lola Fatoyinbo a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In this interview she answers questions about her life and career in a way that encourages and excites the reader about a career in science. She also talks about what it can be like as a woman in STEM. She mostly talks about her experiences and influences and less about the specifics of her work. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.5 Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.