BREAKTHROUGH: People of Color in American Science

April 1st, 1995 - July 31st, 1999 | PROJECT

Blackside, Inc. is producing a television series and an outreach component about minority scientists. The goals of the six-hour prime-time series, "Breakthrough: People of Color in Science," are to raise the consciousness of the general public that is largely unaware of the significant contribution of scientists of color and to provide role models that will encourage young people to consider science and engineering careers. The programs will feature the work of contemporary African-American, Latino and Native American scientists and engineers who are active in cell biology, astrophysics, applied mathematics and other fields of science. The stories of their scientific achievements will present both women and men, old and young, at different stages of their careers, and will explore the professional, educational and social worlds they live and work in. Viewers will have immediate access to a comprehensive follow-up effort that will connect them with local, regional and national opportunities in informal science education. Blackside will collect information from existing resources and institutions as well using source material from several extensively researched databases geared toward minority students. Using all of this information, Blackside will create a metadatabase that will connect teachers, parents, mentors, and students to a rich variety of educational programs: extracurricular classes, mentoring programs, national science contests, teacher training workshops, and a myriad of on-line services. To ensure immediate access and, where possible, to customize the information to viewers needs, Blackside will disseminate it through a variety of means: an 800-number with a direct fax-back capability, an on-line service, a CD-ROM, and a printed packet delivered by mail. A principal target audience is gatekeepers in students' lives: parents, teachers, and scientists interested in becoming mentors. The target audience also includes students from fourth th rough twelfth grades. Joseph Blatt will serve a PI for this project and co-executive producer for the television series. His previous experience include serving as executive producer of "Scientific American FRONTIERS" and as a producer/director for several NOVA programs. He also has been executive producer for three television series/college credit courses in mathematics. Henry Hampton will be the other co-executive producer. He was the creator and executive producer of the 14-hour, award winning series, "Eyes on the Prize," about America's civil rights movement. The principal educational consultant will be Ceasar McDowell, assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Michael Ambrosino, the original executive producer of NOVA, will be the principal science television consultant.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Joseph Blatt, Principal Investigator, Blackside Inc


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9453024
Funding Amount: 1762625


Access and Inclusion: Black | African American Communities | Ethnic | Racial | Hispanic | Latinx Communities | Indigenous and Tribal Communities
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Scientists | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Engineering | General STEM | History | policy | law | Mathematics | Nature of science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Community Outreach Programs | Media and Technology | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media