A few years ago I was making a connection in the airport. My small tradition when I fly alone is pick up a cappuccino and a copy of Scientific American to help pass the time. When I entered one vendor's shop, I was having trouble finding my magazine and eventually asked if they had any copies. The cashier replied that they did, I just hadn't looked in the Men's Interest section of the store. There, with copies of magazine on guns and fitness above and Maxim and Playboy below, was the science section.
It is obvious as a physicist that we are one of the least diverse disciplines in academia - I can count the number of Black and Latino physicists I know on one hand - but to see something so public really shook me awake. We need to work to make science a digestible subject to those who are not in the field and we need to make more effort to give all youth - especially female, LGBT, Black, Latino, and Native American students - the opportunity to be passionate about becoming a scientist.
I have recently served on committees to bring high school students from American Indian reservations across New York State to Cornell in order to expose them to the scientific research that goes on at universities. Our first run was last November and we are continuing this Spring.