Baby Anulika is officially 13 days old! Her umbilical cord fell off a few days ago and that’s when it really hit me – this girl is getting older! Today I can count her age in days. Soon it will be weeks. Then months. And any day now she’ll be coming to tell me she’s having her first period LOL. The gift I’ve been given does not escape me. Every day I thank God for the opportunity to love her.
I’m feeling very tearful and hormonal…I hope this isn’t the onset of postpartum
depression? Maybe it's just the Postpartum Blues. I’ll make sure to leave the house tomorrow and get some air. Baby came two weeks early so none of my family is here. I’m sure the distance isn’t helping with my mental state. Luckily, my big sister arrives tomorrow and her visit should help. After her my aunt, then Baby’s grandmother, then my sister and brother – GAH I’m getting excited just typing this!
Physically, I’m feeling good. My energy level is up and my milk is in. I’m only ten pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and can’t wait to get back into the gym. Endorphins. E-N-D-O- R-P- H-I- N-S!!!!
So Grateful. So Thankful.
Do you understand how little 2% is? When you have 2% of something, you are missing 98% of whatever that object is. 2% milk is missing 98% of the fat. A loading bar at 2% has 98% percent that still has to load. When you have 2% of a dollar you have only two pennies. You are missing out on the other 98 pennies. Two percent of ten dollars is only twenty cents, and so on. But who cares? Why is 2% significant? Well, 2% is significant because that is the percentage of Science and Engineering Bachelor degrees awarded to African American women in 2010.
My name is Cassia Trusty. I am currently a rising sophomore at Villanova University and my major is Computer Engineering.
I am incredibly proud of my major and am excited to pursue this degree. Even so, I recognize that while it is important to express my excitement, I also must deliver the truth of what it's like to be a black female engineer.
When I think about my experience, a word that comes to mind is “intimidation”. Within the first month of being at Villanova, I had someone suggest I get tested for a learning disability and that I consider changing my major from engineering. While I don't claim that this comment held racial or sexist intent, it was still an eye-opening experience.
I had earned my way to Villanova through preparation that took place throughout my entire educational career. Of the 17,235 applications for the class of 2020, I was one of the 1,670 students who were accepted. I, Cassia Trusty, had been accepted into Villanova University to pursue (at the time) a Chemical Engineering degree. The same major that, when I told people, was met with “Ouch! That's one of the tough ones!”. And yet, here I still found myself, face to face with someone who so strongly doubted my abilities, that they felt the need to clearly voice their opinion.
I was already firm in who I was. I knew my capabilities. This was not the first oppositional voice I had heard. I did not take the bait. There are times when it is not up to us to insist that we have certain abilities. Instead, our actions must do the talking.
It is intimidating to be a black female engineer at a predominantly white institution. But you will notice that I said I am “currently” studying at Villanova. Intimidation has no hold on me. I am here, and here I will stay. As a woman. As an intelligent woman. As an intelligent black woman. I shall not be moved.
As you may or may not know, one DoD Founder is on maternity leave and the other Founder is on international leave. I'm Dr. Joy, the one who is in Zanzibar! Shout out to Dr. Nenna though who is mastering breastfeeding while I'm teaching ultrasound. As apart of Social Media Summer Camp, we are blogging! One Doc Blog and one Teen Blog to keep things intergenerational!
First, I want to introduce you to this amazing place called Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is in East Africa and is definitely apart of the African Diaspora. The national language is Swahili, basically all of the words used in Kwanzaa come from Swahili. I'm living on a small island called Pemba, which is apart of Zanzibar. It's roughly a 99% Muslim island, so while living here most women are expected to dress conservatively. The American doctor who was here before me had to cover her hair for Ramadan, or month of fasting. I usually never show my arms or legs when I am in public places.
Every weekday I drive around the island to different hospitals to teach doctors, midwives and other clinical workers on how to perform ultrasound on pregnant women. It's difficult to teach ultrasound in general, but what makes this experience unique is that I teach a majority of the time in Swahili. As a black woman who is not Tanzanian and coming back to volunteer to teach, the doctors and midwives are very receptive. Speaking Swahili is also a bonus for them. It’s a way for me to give back to the diaspora, as a daughter of the diaspora.
Did you know that Dr. Nenna and I both speak African languages? We were the first students ever awarded Language Certificates in an African Language at Harvard College. Dr. Nenna speaks Igbo, the language of her parents, which she learned completely at Harvard. When we started Daughters of the Diaspora, we were actually on vacation in Zanzibar together five years ago. This trip is like a homecoming for us and for Daughters of the Diaspora, Inc. So glad we can take you on the ride. Stay tuned for more adventures in Zanzibar next Wednesday!