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DeAnna Beane

Informal science educator and administrator DeAnna Banks Beane was born on January 25, 1940 in Washington, D.C. She became interested in science and nature as a child. Beane attended Howard University and received her B.S. degree in zoology in 1962. Initially she was interested in medical school, but during temporary science teaching assignment, she discovered the joy of introducing science to young people who lacked access to science-rich opportunities. Committed to a career in education, she went on to earn her M.Ed. degree from Rutgers University in 1973.

Between 1966 and 1971, Beane taught science at schools for pregnant teenage girls in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Illinois, and New Brunswick, New Jersey. From 1971 to 1981, she taught earth science, general science, physical science and gifted/talented classes to middle school students in Plainfield, New Jersey. Returning to Washington, D.C. in 1982, Beane worked extensively on issues of racial equity in education. Beane was employed by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Race Equity (a federally-funded school desegregation assistance center at The American University) from 1983 to 1985 where she became interested in the issues of equity in science education. An extensive review of the literature sparked her particular interest in the role that informal science education could play in helping to level the science playing field for African American, Latino, and American Indian children. In 1985, Beane was appointed education director for the National Urban Coalition where she developed a national program to increase minority community involvement in science and mathematics. She joined the Association of Science and Technology Centers, Inc. (ASTC) in 1991 where she directed the Youth Achievement through Learning, Involvement, Volunteering, and Employment initiative (YouthALIVE!), which brought diversity and youth development programs to more than seventy science and children’s museums around the country. As director of Partnerships for Learning at ASTC from 2001 until retirement in 2006, Beane continued her efforts to increase the diversity of staff and visitors in science museums.

Beane is the author of Mathematics and Science: Critical Filters for the Future of Minority Students, a manual that explores the research on factors influencing non-Asian minority student participation in mathematics and science, and identifies intervention strategies and programs. Her articles on school-community-museum partnerships and museum based pre-employment youth programs and their impact on teenagers have appeared in academic and professional journals such as Journal of Negro Education, Journal of Museum Education, and Dimensions: The Bi-monthly News Journal of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

DeAnna Banks Beane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 12, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.020

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/12/2013

Last Name

Beane

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Banks

Schools

Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School

Chicago State University

Rutgers University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

DeAnna

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BEA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Never doubt what a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has been successful. -Margaret Mead

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/25/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Informal science educator DeAnna Beane (1940 - ) was director of Youth ALIVE! (Youth Achievement through Learning, Involvement, Volunteering and Employment) at the Association of Science and Technology Centers, Inc.

Employment

Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC)

Delete

National Urban Coalition

Mid-Atlantic Center for Race Equity

InterAmerica Research

Plainfield Public Schools

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of DeAnna Beane's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane describes her mother's growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes her grandmother's and her mother's education and career in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about Howard University and her first encounter with its president, Mordecai Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane discusses perceptions of beauty amongst African Americans while she was at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane talks about how her parents met at Howard University, and their long marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes her father's career as an educator

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - DeAnna Beane describes her memories of growing up in Washington, D.C. during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about attending Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane talks about his interests as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane recalls the U.S. Supreme Court passing the Brown versus Board of Education decision

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane talks about her experience in elementary school, and the importance of parents being involved in their children's education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about her exposure to science in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about segregation in Washington, District of Columbia, while she was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane talks about attending the Jones-Haywood School of Dance in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about her introduction to science in middle school and her experience at science fairs in Washington, District of Columbia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience in a newly-integrated high school in Washington, D.C. - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience in a newly-integrated high school in Washington, D.C. - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane talks about the influence of her biology teacher in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about the desegregation of schools in the 1950s and reflects upon her experience in a newly-integrated high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes her decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her experience at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane talks about Howard University and HistoryMaker Lloyd Ferguson

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane talks about studying zoology at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes her reasons for to not applying to medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about her introduction to teaching science

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in Arlington, Virginia in the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane describes her involvement in social activism in Arlington, Virginia and Chicago, Illinois, and taking education courses in Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about earning her master's degree in urban education at Rutger's University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her involvement in community organizing, and the skills that she learned during her master's degree in urban education

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane talks about teaching at a middle school in New Jersey, her separation from her husband and working as a science writer and researcher

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane talks about her work with the Mid-Atlantic Center for Race Equity

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane talks about her publication entitled, 'Mathematics and science: Critical filters for the future of minority students'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane talks about the applications of her publication, 'Mathematics and science: Critical filters for the future of minority students'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her work as the director of the 'Say YES to a Youngster's Future' program at the National Urban Coalition

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane describes her work as the director of the 'YouthALIVE!' program at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane describes her work as the director of the 'YouthALIVE!' program at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane describes the success of the 'YouthALIVE!' program implemented by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane describes the success of the 'YouthALIVE!' program implemented by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane describes her contribution as the director of Partnerships for Learning at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane describes the concept of "object-based learning"

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane talks about youth programs at science centers and museums across the United States - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane talks about youth programs at science centers and museums across the United States - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - DeAnna Beane talks about her life after retiring from the Association of Science-Technology Centers in 2006

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - DeAnna Beane reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - DeAnna Beane reflects upon her career

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - DeAnna Beane describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - DeAnna Beane talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - DeAnna Beane reflects upon generating community-wide awareness about the importance of STEM education

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - DeAnna Beane talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - DeAnna Beane describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$4

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
DeAnna Beane talks about her publication entitled, 'Mathematics and science: Critical filters for the future of minority students'
DeAnna Beane talks about her introduction to science in middle school and her experience at science fairs in Washington, District of Columbia
Transcript
When I finally got it all together, I had voluminous notes. I sorted them out into affective factors, which have to do with feelings and cognitive factors, which have to do with what's happening in the classroom in terms of the learning experience. And some of the affective factors involved attitudes towards science. And I based this on what I could find in the research. And at that time, I don't know what it's like now, but this was based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, that was the first national assessment that was done in science. It was at the end of the 'up's [1970s]. At that time, African American or black children ex--at a young age, nine years old, expressed a higher interest in science than their white counterparts. Well who knew that? Nobody would know. So as I found these things out, then I thought it would be really important to help teachers know that because it gave them something to build on. So the whole idea about attitudes in science, the kids liked math even though they weren't excelling in it, at least they had a positive attitude toward it. The influence of significant others, parents, the impact that parents, teachers, peers, siblings can have on a child's feeling about themselves as a science student, their interest in science, very much influenced by the people around you. The people who serve as role models. The whole idea of seeing people who look like you who are doing science. That's another one of those affective factors. Persistence, the ability to hang in there and not give up. When it gets hard and you don't understand something, not getting frustrated and saying can't do it. I learned about--in preparing, in doing that work, I learned about an area called locus of control. And to this day I am still wrestling with that concept. Whether I have an internal child or whether I have an internal locus of control whereby I feel that I can determine my fate, I can change the outcomes of things. Or I have an external locus of control whereby you did that to me. You didn't give me this opportunity. You didn't let me do this. Or I need you to tell me what to do. I need you to solve the problem for me. So this whole issue of locus of control to me is still a central issue that needs better understanding. And we need tools for addressing it. But it was one--for me it was one of the most important of the factors that dealt with the affective or emotional component. Another one was, which affected my work thereafter, was prior experiences. If you've had no experiences in science to build on and you get into a chemistry class, you know but the research was showing that our kids did not have sufficient prior experiences to really take full advantage of what was going on in the classroom. By prior experiences, we're talking about the kinds of experiences that middle class children take for granted. They go to summer camps. They go to museums, they go to zoos, botanical gardens. They have all of these science enriching experiences as a norm from early childhood on up. And our kids were missing those things. And that helped shaped you know my, my career thereafter, those, a lot of those factors. The cognitive factors had to do with academic deficiencies, had to do with teacher expectations. You know what kinds of attitudes did teachers come into the classrooms with? What did they expect of children of color? Had to do with teachings, or learning styles as we talked earlier. Had to do with how teachers felt about science. We're all looking at--I'm only looking at elementary schools and the fact that it was a challenge for many elementary schools to have teachers who enjoyed doing science and who were comfortable with mathematics.$We did not have a strong science program at that time [at Banneker Junior High School, Washington, District of Columbia]. We didn't have any equipment and I remember the day our science teacher put a microscope on the front desk and said get in line and come up and take a look. It was mind blowing. It was wonderful. He could see I was hooked. And he later asked me, told me he wanted me to talk to my father [Howard Percell Banks] and ask him to help me prepare a project for the city-wide science fair. And we did that and then so that was my excursion into a broader world of people who enjoyed science.$$Now what was your project?$$That first project was on landscaping a home. It, it did not reflect what I later came to appreciate about, you know, what science projects needed to do, but it did well in the science fair, so--for seventh grade.$$Now were you competing city-wide against all the students?$$City-wide, city-wide, yes.$$I mean and the white ones too?$$Yeah, yeah. So the science fair was my first excursion outside of my warm cocoon of the black community. The fair was held in the gym of American University [Washington, D.C.], which was in a part of town I didn't know existed. That first year my father took me. The second year my parents [Howard Percell Banks and Buena Vista Marie Williams] allowed me to take public transportation. So on the bus I got to the bureau, and the National Bureau of Standards used to be here in town. I got to pass the National Bureau of Standards, it was just amazing. As a result of my years of participation, one year I did a project--we had visited Grand Canyon, which is really impressive. So one year I did a project of a cross-section of Grand Canyon which clearly with my father's help because I wasn't getting the help at school, but it brought me into the world of geology. And then when I got to high school my, my project was different. I had a, a really good biology teacher and she you know, encouraged me to just explore something I wanted to know more about. But those years in junior high with a teacher who's field was not science, and I don't think he really loved science. I think he was assigned to teach science. But he opened the door for me to participate in the science fairs and I was elected to the Washington Junior Academy of Sciences. And as a academy member for some reason it seemed to have been on the governing board or something, I don't even know how those things happen. But I was exposed to other young people who enjoyed science and it wasn't seen as weird, you know to do that.$$Now were, were your interests, do you think your interests were considered weird by your peers in those days?$$No, not weird. I don't think they were weird. I mean one of my peers was Gertrude Branson, whose father was head of the physics department at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia].$$That's Herman Branson.$$Herman Branson, so and Gertrude died this past summer. But not all the, not all the kids in our group were into science fair projects. But having each other and going to those meetings made it kind of, you know, special. And then seeing, seeing kids who were very serious. One young woman who always won the national prize, had terrible allergies, so she did all of her projects on research, on allergies. Which is just astounding to me. I didn't have any of that in my world, so--$$With the allergies or any--the whole--$$I didn't have the, the concept of you can pick a problem and work on it and study it and try to understand it and get to the core and make recommendations, come up with hypotheses and reach conclusions and you know, that kind of dogged determination to solve a problem in an area of science was a new experience for me. So the science fair was broadening and participating cause once you're a member of the Junior Academy, then you had to help put on the sci--the city-wide science fair so you had to help set up, hostess, all the--those kinds of activities.$$So let me just, okay now, now being--your proximity to Howard put you in touch with--you said your best friend's father, Dr. Herman Branson [physicist and chemist who worked on the alpha helix protein structure] who's a scientist and he became the president of Central State [University, Wilberforce, Ohio] later on and some other things.$$Right of Lincoln [University, Chester County, Pennsylvania].$$Central too, he was president of Central State in Ohio.$$Okay.$$That's why I know him.$$Okay, okay.$$But he--so you got a lot of, you got like the Howard Medical School over there, you got like physics department over there and chemistry department over--did, I mean so black scientists were in the community. Were you aware of, of--$$No, no, not only that. I mean it's interesting you, you ask that question because I began--I mean yesterday I was thinking about what did I know about careers? I knew nothing about careers. I knew nothing about what people did with science. I, I mean I went all through high school not knowing what you could do and my thought was I'll become a doctor. I'll be a pediatrician. It wasn't until I was probably halfway through college or three quarters of the way through college before it occurred to me you might be able to do something else with this, you know. You have this--but it, it took a lot. It was probably my senior year before I found that there was something I enjoyed doing enough right within the science itself to pursue it. But that was pretty, pretty late in the--$$Okay.$$And also we didn't have any--unlike now where you have bridge programs, you have programs in the summer that are science rich. The only thing I had was the [Washington] Junior Academy [of Sciences]. And the Junior Academy would arrange for us to visit science rich places in the summer. I saw my first cadaver on a, on a trip to--was it GW's [George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia] Medical School with the Washington Junior Academy of Sciences. Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, they took us on a trip there and where they have a--they still have it, an icon. It's a giant model of the heart that you can walk through and feel the beats and go through the, the various segments of the heart, auricles and ventricles. So I would say probably more than anything, the Junior Academy served as my support system. But I didn't have any, any mentors in science per se.$$So you were able to get involved in the Junior Academy because of the teacher at Banneker?$$Because of the science fair.$$Science fair, okay.$$I had--I got awards for two of my projects and so that then meant I guess you're invited to join the academy or something like--or maybe the teacher recommended, I don't know. Fortunately, the teacher had great faith in me.$$Okay, this is the one at Banneker [Junior High School, Washington, D.C.], right?$$At Banneker.

Sondra Akins

Education professor and chemist Sondra Akins was born on March 16, 1944 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She became interested in chemistry by the time she graduated from Atkins High School in 1962. Akins earned her B.S. degree in chemistry in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley where she also worked as a laboratory technician. She received her M.S. degree in chemistry with a minor in higher education from Florida State University in 1970.

After earning her master's degree, Akins taught physical science at Greco Junior High School in Tampa, Florida. Between 1971 and 1974, she served as instructor of chemistry at St. Petersburg Junior College which is currently known as St. Petersburg College. She left St. Petersburg in 1974 to teach at Hillsborough Community College where she rose to the rank of associate professor. In 1978, she taught at Northern Virginia Community College, and in 1980, Akins worked as an honors physics teacher in Lexington Massachusetts Public Schools. She also spent two years as an industrial hygienist at Hewlett Packard, Co. from 1981 to 1983. Akins began her long career with the Englewood Public School District in Englewood, New Jersey in 1983 where she started as a science and mathematics teacher. In 1988, she became the director of mathematics, science, and technology. In 1993, she received her Ed.D. degree in science education from Columbia University. She returned to teaching at Englewood Public Schools between 1995 and 1997 and served as a high school principal for one year in 1997. From 1998 to 2001, Akins was a staff developer for Englewood Public Schools where she served as a mentor, giving advice to teachers. Since 2001, Akins has worked as a professor in the Department of Secondary and Middle School Education at William Paterson University. She has written numerous essays on science education including a chapter in the National Science Teachers Association book, Exemplary Science: Best Practices in Professional Development.

Over her long career in science education, Akins has been recognized many times by her community including the Award for Dedication to Science Teaching from Sigma Xi of Ramapo College. She has been a member of the American Chemical Society, the National Science Teachers Association and the Association of Science Teacher Educators. Sondra Akins lives with her husband Daniel Akins, a chemist, in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Sondra Akins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 15, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.108

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/15/2012

Last Name

Akins

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Barber

Schools

University of California, Berkeley

Brandeis University

Teachers College, Columbia University

Florida State University

Atkins High School

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sondra

Birth City, State, Country

Winston-Salem

HM ID

AKI02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Favorite Quote

Keep an open mind.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

3/16/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Englewood

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Strawberry Shortcake)

Short Description

Education professor and chemist Sondra Akins (1944 - ) was an authority in the field of science education with over thirty-nine years of professional teaching and consulting experience.

Employment

William Paterson University

Englewood Public Schools

Hewlett Packard Co.

Northern Virginia Community College

Hillsborough Community College

St. Petersburg Jr. College

Greco Jr. High School

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sondra Akins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins describes her mother's growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about the Mary Potter School in Oxford, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins talks about her mother's desire to have a long-lasting marriage and family-life

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins talks about how her parents met, and describes their long marriage and employment at Winston-Salem Teachers College

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sondra Akins lists her siblings, and talks about her name

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sondra Akins describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after, and talks about them being her role models

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sondra Akins describes her childhood home and her close-knit family

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sondra Akins talks about her childhood neighborhood in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sondra Akins describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins describes her childhood experience on the Winston-Salem Teachers College campus

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins talks about the towns of Winston and Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins talks about segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the mid-1900s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about segregation in the public school system in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and describes her experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins talks about the influence of Zion Memorial Church on her awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins talks about her introduction to television in the 1950s, and her interest in science programs and talent shows

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins describes her experience with science experiments in the eighth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins talks about her family's travels when she was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins talks about the demographics of Winston-Salem Teachers College, and the schools for African American students in Winston-Salem

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins describes her academic excellence, her extracurricular involvement, and her interest in science at Atkins High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about her role model, Togo West, Jr. and her scientific mentor, Togo West, Sr., at Atkins High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins describes her experience with the integration of her high school advanced placement chemistry class in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins talks about her decision to pursue chemistry as her major in college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins describes her decision to attend Howard University for her undergraduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sondra Akins recalls the Civil Rights sit-ins at the Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina, which led to its desegregation in 1960

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins describes her early experience studying chemistry at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins describes her experience studying science at Howard University, and her love for science

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins describes the 'black is beautiful' cultural movement in the United States in the early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins talks about the advent of the space age in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about her exposure to black history and culture at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins talks about her decision to pursue research, and not go to medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins talks about getting married to HistoryMaker Daniel Akins, withdrawing from Howard University, and moving to Berkeley, California

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins describes her experience at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sondra Akins talks about becoming a parent while pursuing her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins describes her and her husband's relationship with their advisor, C. Bradley Moore, at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins talks about her employment as a lab technician at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins talks about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Black Panther Party's presence in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins talks about her family's move to Florida State University in 1968 and their experience there

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about her interest in physical chemistry, and the growing interdisciplinary nature of science

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins describes her different experiences as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and as a graduate student at Florida State University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins talks about her role model, Lidia Vallerino, and other women who are scientists

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins talks about her decision to become a physical science teacher at Greco Junior High School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sondra Akins describes her experience as a physical science teacher at Greco Junior High School in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins reflects upon the diverse styles of learning and teaching in the classroom

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins talks about her decision to move from St. Petersburg Junior College to Hillsborough Community College

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins talks about balancing her family life and her career

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins talks about her experience as a science teacher at Northern Virginia Community College and at Lexington High School

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about her decision to discontinue her graduate studies and become an industrial hygienist at Hewlett-Packard Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins describes her experience as an industrial hygienist at Hewlett-Packard Corporation in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins describes her experience as a teacher at Dwight Morrow High School and her decision to pursue a degree in science education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins describes her doctoral dissertation on restructuring the math and science curriculum, with a focus on elementary school - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins describes the importance of teaching students to think scientifically in their early childhood education

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins describes her doctoral dissertation on restructuring the math and science curriculum, with a focus on elementary school - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins describes the findings of her doctoral dissertation on restructuring the math and science curriculum in elementary school education

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins talks about her involvement in professional development programs for the teachers in the Englewood School District

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins talks about the African American Educational Center of Northern New Jersey

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins describes her professional activities in the Englewood School District

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins reflects upon the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins describes her experience as a professor of science education at The William Patterson University of New Jersey

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins talks about her article entitled 'Exemplary Science: Best Practices in Professional Development'

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins discusses the balance between inquiry and discipline as part of the process of learning

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins describes her involvement with the New York African Burial Ground Project General Audience Report at Howard University

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins describes the history of the New York African Burial Ground Project and her involvement with the General Audience Report

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Sondra Akins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Sondra Akins talks about her plans to write a book about her experience with learning and teaching science

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Sondra Akins reflects upon her life

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Sondra Akins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Sondra Akins talks about her family

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Sondra Akins reflects upon the significance of teaching and science

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Sondra Akins talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Sondra Akins describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$8

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Sondra Akins describes her experience with the integration of her high school advanced placement chemistry class in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Sondra Akins describes the history of the New York African Burial Ground Project and her involvement with the General Audience Report
Transcript
Now, how did that work? Did they segregate you after you got over there [white high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina]?$$No, no, no, no. All of a sudden, twelfth grade, I had to be ready to go and hold my own in a class with white students. That was an experience. There was one girl from the school who took biology, advanced biology, while I took chemistry. So we practically went hand-in-hand because, you know, actually, our fathers [Akins' father, Alexander Eugene Barber] drove us there, kind of--it gave us moral support. And then the bus would bring us back. And we would stay, I guess maybe an hour and a half, then come back to our own high school [Atkins High School, Winston-Salem].$$So, but you weren't, you were allowed to participate? There's no--$$In twelfth grade.$$--no problems at the school?$$Nothing like what I had, had been afraid of because, as I mentioned before, I had seen actually on television the little, Little Rock [Arkansas] Nine [a group of African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957]. And I knew it was coming, as I said, from the time I was in maybe sixth or seventh grade, that I was gonna have to go to school (laughter) with white kids, you know. So I was anticipating, I didn't know what to anticipate, but it was very civil. As it turned out, the class had only six or seven students in it, and they came from the other high--, the white high schools. And it was held at Reynolds [High School]. So they must have had one or two kids who went to Reynolds, and a couple who went to Gray [High School]. And then there was Sondra Barber who came over from Atkins (laughter) High School and very cordial. Nevertheless, it was not easy.$$Okay, so this is Reynolds High School, named after R.J. Reynolds [tobacco industrialist]--$$After R.J. Reynolds.$$--Tobacco thing. Okay. So, now, this is interesting because, you know, there are so many stories that are still to unfold in the South where there's like big conflict when a black student comes to the door, and then later on, even in the North, the bussing--$$Oh, yes. Well, I--$$--crisis in the '70s [1970s] where even--$$Right.$$--the breaking of defacto segregation caused violence.$$Um-hum, now, it turns out there had been a black girl at Reynolds, and she was there. We knew she was there. That was like the token. I'm sure it was, it couldn't have been easy for her, but we didn't hear horror stories. We didn't hear horror stories. I'm sure she went through something. When I went, it was a, it was not so publicized. After all, it was just an advanced placement [AP] class. It wasn't all day, real desegregation. So, but I can remember walking in there, and students staring just like a sea of white children or students, and they were staring, but nobody said anything out of, out of the way. Nobody said anything. I remember the teachers' names, Dr. Hounshell (ph.) and Mr. Gerald (ph.). There were two teachers. And we would have our class and our lab all together in the same place, and they would have coffee at the--you know, it was quite interesting, but nevertheless, it was not easy because I felt different. I mean I was in a place different from what I was used to, and I felt self-conscious. But, no, there was, I cannot speak of any negative comments or anything like that. We worked with partners. I remember the girl I worked with. She was very nice, very quiet (laughter). I remember we went on a field trip. We must have gone to Raleigh [North Carolina]. I don't believe it was Chapel Hill [North Carolina], to the state university [North Carolina State University]. And then we kind of hung together because we were these little, we were these young kids with, in the midst of these college students. And I felt like I belonged to them (laughter) at that time, you know, because we were on that field trip.$$Okay, so, but you did all right?$$Yeah.$$Did you? Okay.$$Yes.$$All right.$$I did all right, and I did all--and the reason is because of, well, it's just the nurturing of the community that I came up in. You know, everybody was concerned that I would do all right. When I came back to my school, my physics teacher asked, "Well, how are things going? How's Dr. Hounshell?" Somehow he knew of him. He must have been talking to him.$It [New York African Burial Ground Project General Audience Report] tells how when they were digging for the building, how the bones were discovered and what had to happen as a result of that and how the community got involved, how the community wanted to know certain things about the people who were buried and a researcher listened to them. And then, of course, there are different parts. Now, the original research covers the skeletal biology. So they were looking at the diseases that they obviously had based on what they learned about the--$$I think the first thing they'd probably wanna know is how do we know they're Africans, right?$$Well, there is, there is history about that burial ground and when it, when it first--I can't, I don't wanna say when it first. But the report tells, it puts it all in a historical perspective of the company, the, what do you wanna, is it the Manhattan? No, they don't call it Manhattan. I'm trying to think of the Dutch, the Dutch settled the--$$Right, the Dutch West India Company.$$Yes, yes, they settled the area, and what was going on in history. And there are some records they found of this burial ground. So--$$And then what you were saying, you were just saying the, you know, conditions, I mean under which the people died--$$Exactly.$$--what their physical condition was.$$Right, and then there was some study, and I don't wanna try to quote everything because there's so much. The people who came over after--how do I wanna put it? For those who were born and brought over, that they have some of the same kinds of diseases that people who had been living under the conditions of slavery and were already here. They somehow looked at that as well, but I--and I will do this. I'm gonna go back and re-read everything because I plan to make that a unit (laughter). We do a lot of unit, unit work in my methods class, one of my methods classes, where I get the students to develop a unit and develop lessons where they embed these standards that we want in those lessons. And what I do with my middle school and secondary students, different from the elementary where they only do lessons, I get the students to develop their units collaboratively so that it is ensured that it is interdisciplinary and that it has different perspectives, and they're working together, like teachers, like the teachers that I worked with in the [Englewood] school district [New Jersey] in restructuring. That's the way they worked. They worked collaboratively. So I brought that into my courses at William Patterson [University, The William Patterson University of New Jersey, Wayne, New Jersey], that the science methods students, some of them, would work collaboratively on curriculum and bounce ideas off each other and ensure that they're looking at, you know, chemistry and biology and earth science, all in the same unit. And some are pathology majors, some are chemistry majors, some are earth science majors, it works nicely that way. So those are some of the new ideas in professional development that I've been pushing since I've been at William Patterson.$$Okay, now, just on the African Burial Project, I think it was Dr. Rick Kittles [geneticist] was important in that. He was a scientist at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia]. Did you have a chance to meet him?$$No, no. Now, the thing that's probably, I don't wanna say disappointing. I didn't get a chance to work with, and I don't wanna say I didn't get a chance, they didn't give me a chance. It's just the way when I got involved and how much time there was before this general report had to be done, I was, I talked with a writer, the Howard writer who really didn't write the book either, but she's a writer. And Dean [James] Donaldson, who is also a HistoryMaker, and Oscar Cole (ph.) who was a special assistant to the president, and who was in charge of the project, those were the people that I interacted with and gave my recommendations to. And as I said, when the drafts came back, I read and I made recommendations along with other people who were also reading the draft.$$Okay.