Parenting and Educating for Success in Math and Science: From Early Childhood to College
My father was a carpenter . . . When we first learned area in math class I remember he was talking about digging a hole for concrete, and he gave me the dimensions and told me to figure out the volume and stuff like that. He asked me how much cement we would need. Just little things like that, which intrigued me and jogged my interest. And I always knew that I didn't want to be a carpenter because I didn't want to work out in the sun, but I wanted to do something like that. And then I found out that engineering was that field.
The young males we focus on in this book have generally been high achievers in all disciplines. In this chapter we explore in depth what has led to their success in math and science, where they have achieved at the very highest levels. However, the lessons from this chapter can be applied to academic achievement in general. Yes, strong coursework and high grades in mathematics and science courses in high school, along with high SAT scores in math, are two of the primary criteria that led to their admission to the UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars Program. But these youth have often achieved across the board. 1
As discussed in the first chapter, education and careers in math and science are becoming increasingly important in our technical and technologic society, and African Americans are extremely underrepresented in these fields. To help increase the representation of Blacks in math- and science-based occupations as well as other professions, we consider it important to identity the factors that led to the success in math and science of the Black students with whom we spoke. Our hope is that such understanding will contribute to the success of future generations of African Americans in these disciplines.