SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A Black author is leading a new push to get kids of color into STEM fields. Before Neil Thompson was a children's author, he was a biomedical engineer.
"I worked on spinal implants," said Thompson. "And more specifically, I worked in a group called orthobiologics."
While Thompson excelled for years in engineering, he also stood out.
"When I was in school, there was myself and I think one other Black person in the majority of my classes," said Thompson.
By the numbers, he's not alone. Black Americans make up just 9% of the STEM industry, according to the National Science Foundation.
"But I never thought to myself that I wasn’t supposed to be here, or that other people deserved to be there more than I did," said Thompson. "That’s a message I really want to get out to the Black children of today."
So, Thompson teamed up with two other authors to give away a collection of STEM-related books written by people of color. That includes his own book — "Ask Uncle Neil: Why is my hair curly?"
"The book was inspired by my nephew. He asked me that question — why is my hair the way it is?" said Thompson. "And I didn’t know the answer. So I had to do some research to find out. And once I did that research, I thought this could be a pretty interesting story to make a book out of."
Each book in the giveaway has a different topic, but the same goal.
"We’re underrepresented in the STEM or the technical field. I want them to know they can see anybody doing it... Any human being," said Thompson. "And as long as they can do it, there’s no reason you can’t do it. So go after what you want to do."
If you want to enter this book giveaway or learn more, check out Thompson's website.