Meet a Scientist: Dale Emeagwali

Meet a Scientist Monday Tuesday

Do you ever wonder whether all the science enrichment you do as a parent really matters? Well, parent involvement made a huge difference to Dr. Dale Emeagwali. As a Black, she felt her teachers were not supportive of her interest in math and science when she was growing up in the 1960’s. She says she became a scientist because her parents did simple science experiments with her and her two brothers at home. Her father also encouraged their interest in math by showing them tricks with numbers and having math books available. She fully credits her parent’s efforts for her success.

Dr. Emeagwali is now a Lecturer in Biology at Morgan State University. She has a PhD from Georgetown University in Microbiology, and was honored with National Technical Association’s “1996 Scientist of the Year” award for for her contributions to the fields of microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry.

In the book Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits the authors agree that “an important value of informal environments for learning science is being accessible to all.” Although it covers a lot of topics, one I thought was interesting was that “…in the retrospective studies of what launched female scientists down their career paths. These women often cite particular individuals or contexts outside schools as significant influences on their pursuit of science careers.”

Dr. Emeagwali continues to encourage informal science learning for children. For example, while at the University of Minnesota she worked with the Science Museum of Minnesota on the annual African-American Science Day there.

For a particularly moving post about the Black scientists killed in Alabama last week, visit The Black History Month Post I never wanted to write at Urban Science Adventures.

For more information:

Dale Emeagwali Biography at

Dale Emeagwali honored as `Scientist of the Year’

Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits is available for reading online for free at:


  1. DNLee

    Great post. I, too am a fan of informal science education. I love it. I think it is a perfect way to get kids (and adults) hooked into science & math, especially those who are initially averse to the subjects.

  2. Roberta

    Good point, because informal science education allows everyone to pursue their own interests and passions without having to write the pesky thesis.:-)

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