Dr. Angela Williams serves as the 4-H and youth development specialist at Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University. Get to know Dr. Williams in the following interview.
Tell us a little about your path into your current field. Who and/or what inspired you to pursue public health or science more generally?
With a number of degrees in education (bachelor’s, master’s degree in education, educational specialist and doctorate in education) and a valid Alabama teacher license, I have worked with diverse audiences for over two decades. These experiences helped me to understand the need for high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction in underserved communities. In my role as a 4-H specialist for Alabama 4-H at Alabama A&M University, I am consistently seeking innovative ways to deliver STEM instruction to marginalized communities, thus developing the science, technology, reading, engineering, agriculture and mathematics (STREAM) curriculum.
How has USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funding shaped your professional development as assisted with your current projects?
NIFA has aided in the extension of our existing STREAM curriculum. Funded in part by USDA-NIFA, a mobile STEM lab was constructed to provide high-quality STEM instruction in limited resources communities and narrow the opportunity gaps that persist throughout the educational system. The mobile STEM lab introduces real-world, hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to youth ages five to 18. The lab’s goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators to solve the global challenges of today and tomorrow. The lab has significantly expanded our reach to youth who do not have access to high quality STEM instruction.
What advice do you have for current students who may be interested in pursuing a similar career path?
My advice is to begin thinking about what you love to do. Education is a passion and to be effective, you must have a love for ideas, a love for educating others and a love for children. When passion is present, the academic course work is achievable.
Photo: USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture is celebrating Juneteenth. Various images of farmers working in the field and a family spending time together. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.