We start all Shake! mornings with a few inspirations shared by participants. Today we had Anisa telling us about a space scientist that inspires her: Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist, mechanical engineer, and science communicator. Anisa tells us her story; Maggie is inspiring because she was the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, bouncing from one area of the country to the other, never able to find her own place. She was also diagnosed with dyslexia, which meant she had to overcome certain challenges while she was at school. Luckily she found science, something she was good at and made her feel better about herself. Then she found space science, and was able to follow her love for the stars and outer space. Space was great because, in her own words.

“Growing up in London at that time, I was a black kid in a mainly white area and I often got teased… Although I had never been to Nigeria, I was scared that if I said ‘I’m British’ the other kids would say, ‘No, you’re not’. You’re black, you’re not from here’. That led me to feeling a bit lost, like I did not belong here or there. That’s why space was brilliant: space was all-encompassing”.

Anisa remembers the first time she saw Maggie on a school trip and how inspired she was because she was the first black woman in a field which is traditionally seen as for privileged white men. But besides her strength and the fact that she overcame all these challenges in her life in order to achieve her goals, Anisa also finds Maggie Aderin-Pocock inspiring because of her commitment to giving back to others. She believes that being in a position of privilege comes with the responsibility of helping others realize their full potential, and for that reason speaks about science to school children and particularly hard to reach audiences.

We think her work is very inspiring! Anisa perfectly sums up the lesson she takes away from Maggie, with a Toni Morrison Quote:
“When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’