In honour of Black History month, CBC brings you stories from HERstory in Black, a Toronto-based digital photo series profiling 150 black women from the GTA and other parts of Ontario by How She Hustles, a network of 5,000 diverse women.
Who: Eugenia Duodu
What she does: Chief Executive Officer of Visions of Science Network for Learning - a charitable organization that runs educational programs that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for youth from low-income and marginalized communities.
What inspired you to get involved with Visions of Science Network for Learning?
Eugenia Duodu: In my last year of my undergraduate degree I was really trying to search for something that I could connect with my community because that's what I was really passionate about along with science. So, I wanted to figure out a way to bring the two together. I went from volunteering to running the organization and helping to build it up. We started out with four to six science clubs. We now have 19 running all across the Greater Toronto Area.
I grew up in a Toronto Community Housing community and I found that I enjoyed science. I loved science. I was engaged in science and I had teachers who really motivated me and had different learning styles that really inspired me. So as I was journeying and navigating through science I realized I was becoming lonelier and lonelier in my field in terms of my life experience, being from housing and being a Black woman.
It seems like there were so many negative experiences as it related to science, but as I was getting more into the field I was being exposed to so many different opportunities, feeling super empowered, feeling like, 'Wow I can do this or I can do that.' So, I was like I really wish some of my friends had this opportunity as well to experience science in a different way and to just see the possibility and not only with science, but all of STEM- science, technology, engineering and math.
What do you hope people take away from the 150 photos of women featured in HERstory in Black?
Eugenia Duodu: I want people to look at that photo and just feel empowered to do anything. I feel like that photo represents legacy in terms of what black women can achieve. I want people to look at that photo and be like I can do this, whatever this looks like for them. I want them to feel very encouraged and empowered to do whatever they need to do to the fullest or maybe beyond what they thought that they could do because I think that's what that photo represents. It represents women who are going above and beyond what the status quo was for them.