Alex’s Story

Storyteller: Alex (she/her/hers), 28, Michigan

Story Transcript:

I have always been into science and math. And I credit this to my parents. They're both in education. My mom works in adult education with some non traditional students. And my dad's a high school math teacher, but he started his career out in chemical engineering. They were always very keen on bringing play around to active learning, we had a Frog Pond in one of the first houses I lived in with them. And I just spent the summer outside with my dad or my friend from down the street, watching frogs, acting like a frog, but also learning about the lifecycle and watching the eggs be laid in the spring, and then they'd turn into tadpoles and then seeing the tadpoles grow feet, and then turn into all these frogs and then hearing them at night. So I think I got to be exposed to science and math through play. I also loved animals growing up. And despite my begging, my mom would not buy me all the stuffed animals I wanted. So I would build a lot of my own toys, made some through sewing, or make plans for a tree house, which was truly never built. But the plans were very elaborate. So I got to be introduced to science and math, through play, which would set me up for future decisions I made in the classroom. Getting those like foundational skills of arithmetic or scientific theories, is so important. But understanding that it's fun to and is interesting and gets to lead you to interesting and curious opportunities really was what had me hooked. I work in advanced manufacturing now, which I know some people think sounds boring, but it is very cool. I get to work with robots. I work with people, every day, all day long. I work in apparel, so I work with designers and in fashion. I work with computer programming, computer-aided drafting, and get to figure out how to make things as my job. And I get to do that because of engineering. And because I had an interest in science and math that my parents helped foster and expose it to me in a way that was engaging as a child. And as I grew up through a teenager and beyond, I now live and work in the city of Detroit. And I tutor students who go through Detroit Public Schools and I hear about how some of those schools are not able to support students as they would like to and as they are in other areas of the country. And as I'm tutoring I can see the difficulties with math, the difficulties with understanding “why math” and what's important about it, and also how math and science can interact with the students in their everyday lives in ways that they do care about through music and through fashion design. I wish that everyone got the opportunity I had in learning about science and math through things that were other interests to me and kind of sneaking it in that way.


I got to be exposed to science and math through play.