Commencement 19 Profile: Jasmine McBeath broadens inclusivity in STEM for girls and people of color

Friday, June 14, 2019
Jasmine McBeath

Jasmine McBeath will graduate with a Ph.D. from the Department of Education with an emphasis in Learning, Culture, and Technology. During her time at the Gevirtz School, she has been the coordinator for the Curie-osity Project where 4-6th grade girls learn about science through researching, interviewing, and writing a book about female scientists at UCSB. (Read about the project on The Current.)

GGSE: Share your research interests with us, and why they’re important to you.
My research area is within university-community partnerships, and I am interested in afterschool programs that broaden the definition of science. I am passionate about getting more girls and people of color to participate in and contribute to STEM fields.

GGSE: If you could give one piece of information that you wished every person knew and remembered from your research, what would it be?
I’d want them to consider the power of collaboration, of what can be accomplished when diverse partners work together. A huge part of this is valuing the resources and knowledge of both university researchers and community members, including children and teens. People often underestimate what children can do, but given guidance and projects they are invested in, they are forces to be reckoned with.

GGSE: What do you hope to do after earning your Ph.D.?
Right after graduating, I’d like to celebrate with a butterbeer at Harry Potter World. More long term, I’m starting a postdoc position in July at UC Irvine. I’d love to be a professor one day but know it’s very competitive. Hopefully I can stay in a role where I continue to work with university-community or research-practice partnerships and teach, research, and run programs.

GGSE: What piece of advice would you pass on to future graduate students in the Gevirtz School?
I’d tell them to dive in from the beginning and make connections in the department and across campus. There are opportunities to volunteer, teach, mentor, collaborate, research and more but they can seem hidden until you put yourself out there.

GGSE: Is there anyone in the Gevirtz School you would like to thank?
So many! I’d like to thank all my friends in GGSE because I would not have made it through without them. I feel incredibly grateful for all the time we’ve spent hanging out, chatting, writing, exploring Santa Barbara and making the most of everything. I’d also like to thank my advisor Richard, and my mentors and committee members Diana and Danielle for their time, wisdom, and encouragement. I was able to take on projects and research I couldn’t have imagined before starting graduate school, and know I would not be where I am today without their advice and support. Finally, I owe a debt of gratitude to my wonderful research assistants who were recruited through the GGSE Ed Minor program. They helped facilitate activities and collect and analyze data, basically making everything possible in the programs I help run. Thank you, thank you!