MESA celebrates ‘Black in STEM’ week

“Buttons and Boba” to celebrate African Americans in science


Jaden Fortier

Nicole Trager sits at a table during the ‘Buttons and Boba’ event

Jaden Fortier, Staff Writer

As a part of Black in STEM week for Black History Month, LMC’s MESA program is holding a series of events celebrating African Americans for their efforts. The first two of these events were “Buttons and Boba,” which took place on Feb. 21 and 22. Tables were set up at the LMC Brentwood campus in the Math lab on the first day and at the LMC Pittsburg campus in the MESA Science Building on the second day.

Students could walk up and choose from three different flavors of boba tea: mango, strawberry and chai, with cookies available for snacks as well. Everything they served was free, as all students had to do was write their name and student ID on a piece of paper before they could take anything.

On both days, all of the drinks were gone quickly as students enjoyed them.

Nicole Trager, who is the director of MESA, said that they had a pretty big turnout for the events and was overall successful.

“We had a big group come in around 11:10,” said Trager, as a flock of 30 people showed up for boba during the LMC Brentwood campus portion of the events.

As time winded down, they gave boba away to anyone who wanted any, once again having them put their names and student ID’s written down. Aside from everyone enjoying boba, there was a selection of buttons for people to take as well. 

Students could either decide to make their own buttons, or take home a pre-made one. To make these buttons, Trager would press the design a student wanted onto a blank button using a button maker machine.

There was an array of selections that had “words of affirmation” on them. 

Some of the things these buttons said were “Black History is Science History,” “Black in STEM” and “Black Lives Matter.” Other designs were the black power fist and tribal African patterns.

Trager said the events were designed to recognize students in STEM as a whole and especially Black students in STEM. To finish off Black in STEM week, pioneers in that community talked about their stories in the LMC Pittsburg library on Feb. 23 from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. The last event took place Feb. 24 on Zoom, as Amy Okosun, an LMC MESA Alumni talked about the experiences and path she had from LMC to her job as a research assistant.