Tuesday, June 8, 2021

For years Taviare Hawkins avoided giving talks about being a Black woman in physics. “I didn’t want to be pigeonholed,” she says; she wanted to be known for her science. Eventually, though, through a zigzagging path that included good mentors, personal initiative, and several jobs, she came to see the importance of serving as a visible role model.

Hawkins majored in physics at the University of Iowa, graduating in 1992. She wasn’t sure she wanted to stay in the field. “I knew I was an experimentalist,” she says, “and I did not want to spend my life in the basement with a bunch of smelly dudes.”

After a three-year break, Hawkins started work on a PhD in physics at Syracuse University. She credits her return to physics to Vincent Rodgers, a string theorist at Iowa. “He saw something in me and kept doubling back,” Hawkins says. “Women, people of color, we want to feel a part of things. For whatever reasons, physics sucks at that,” she says.

See the complete article at https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.6.4.20210607a.