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Kate Meredith: Stories in Accessibilizing STEM from the Astronomy Good Fairy

Have you ever wondered how the wand-wielding characters in your children’s storybooks became good enough in their craft to star in a fairy tale?  I propose they all have grey hair for a reason. There is a lot of time back stage perfecting a commending swish of the wand or stomp of a staff before hitting the spotlight.   I just know in my guts that Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother was sprawled out in an exhausted heap one evening when the thought finally occurred to her that the whole affair of boosting young lasses from the pits of despair would be much easier if she made a coach out of a pumpkin and footmen out of mice instead of starting from scratch. 

I consider myself an Astronomy Good Fair (second class).  I have a way to go but do I have some stories!  I know first-hand that it is a colossal waste of an opportunity to conduct an extensive research and development effort if you don’t build the capacity of the community you aim to serve. It is tempting to put your best effort out there, produce solutions, and bestow them on others in the name of speed and efficiency. Too often, that approach ends in feelings of exclusion on top of critical design flaws.