NASA engineer Dajae Williams is using Hip Hop to help teach math and science to young people.
During an interview with NPR, Williams spoke about how her love for math and how she turned it from something she struggled with into her passion.
“One of our assignments was to create a song about the quadratic formula and the one she presented to us was really bland,” she described. “That wasn’t the song for me, so when I took it home, I may have been listening to Soulja Boy or something on the way home on my MP3 player or something and literally just started making the chorus.”
Williams says that when she introduced her song to her class at school, they went wild, and thus, created a new hobby for her.
“The way these topics were being taught, it was not relatable, at all. And if it’s not relatable, it’s not memorable,” she said. "I create music that fuses hip-hop and math as a tool to encourage underprivileged youth to explore STEM.”
According to Williams’ LinkedIn, she’s a manufacturing engineer with NASA working in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was previously a Flight Technicians Services intern until she was hired at the scientific academy.
As for advice for other young people of color who may have an interest in math and science, Williams says they should listen to her music, and also, ask questions.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the classroom,” she advised. “If you have a question, there’s probably somebody next to you or behind you that has the same question so don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Listen to Dajae Williams’ interview with NPR below.
Photo: Danita Delimont