Dajae Williams — a quality control engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab — used to struggle with math. Now, she uses hip hop to teach math and science to the youth.
When she began working for NASA, Williams felt out of place.
“There was no women in my group, there are only a few African Americans in my group or people of color for that matter. So, nobody looked like me, no one acted like me, so it was definitely different and I did not fit it,” she said in a NPR interview.
After seeking to change how she felt in the workplace, Williams created raps to make science and math more relatable to children of color.
“Energy and force/mathematics, studying the Big Bang/ I’m observing something and it may be nothing a hypothesis could change the game,” she raps.
As a child Williams was involved in a desegregation program that places inner city students at schools with bigger budgets and more detailed curriculums. The move was initially challenging for Williams who struggled to adapt, but with the help of her seventh grade teacher, Williams began to excel in the subjects of math and science.
After completing a class assignment that involved creating a song about the quadratic formula, Williams knew this was a way to make math and science more relatable and thus more memorable.
Today Williams is working towards tailoring her songs to fit different school’s curriculums and hopes hip hop can be incorporated into the classroom.
Click here to listen to Williams’ NPR interview in its entirety.