NASA scientist Sarah Adewumi, 24, fell in love with STEM and never looked back

The HBCU graduate is inspiring the next generation

Sarah Adewumi has always been into STEM subjects. Now, Adewumi is a science communicator at NASA.

Adewumi discussed her career and path in STEM during an exclusive interview with rolling out.

When did you get interested in STEM?

I was always interested in STEM and also science as well. The fact you’re able to experiment, discover new things, I think that’s the most interesting thing.

… I love to bake, I love to cook, and I actually relate that back to science because I love trying out new recipes and experimenting. That always goes back to science, discovering new things and creating something out of nothing. That’s something that I’ve just always loved, discovering new things. That’s how I ended up staying on that STEM and science path because I think that’s just how my brain works, but I love it.

What does it mean to you to represent an entire generation of women?

It’s so incredibly important to me. I didn’t realize how much of an impact I had on the next generation or on Black girls, as well, until I was with my nieces. They were pretending to be me doing a little science episode, and I was like, “Wow. People are actually watching and being inspired by things I do.”

So it was a great way to see [my impact] so close to home, but [also] seeing it all across different states, and with little girls being like, “Oh, you inspired me.” That’s just amazing to me, and that’s something that definitely keeps me going.

What do you do on a daily basis?

I do cyber security service management, so [I attend] a lot of meetings to make sure we have cyber security support for all of our divisions within IT at NASA. I am also a science communicator, so I talk about different topics within STEM — anything from meteorology to biology. I host little science episodes and get kids inspired by that as well.

I also have a nonprofit, NextGen in STEM … [to]  get the next generation excited about STEM, science and all things encompassing that.

As someone who grew up loving science, did you imagine yourself working for NASA so soon?

I would say yes and no. Around that same time, when I was interested in geology, we had a unit in science. We saw the astronauts and rockets, so I came home, and I told my mom, “I want to work for NASA when I grow up.” She was like, “OK,” but I never really thought about it. I honestly didn’t think that it was possible for me until I went to college. They had this internship program, and I was like, “Let me try to get involved in that.”

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