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Hattie Carwell

Hattie Carwell, a health physicist and nuclear safeguards leader for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 36 years, will present “African Americans Contributions to Science and Technology: Hidden in Plain Sight” on February 23 at 3:00 p.m. in the Meigs Room at the MBL’s Swope Center. The presentation is part of Woods Hole Black History Month activities. Pictured above: Carwell holds soap made by village women in Akwasiho, Ghana. She has made frequent trips to Africa to help residents in small villages become more self-sufficient.

Hattie Carwell with classroom display of notable black scientists

Carwell, co-founder and executive director of the Museum of African American Technology Science Village, spoke about the achievements of black scientists during a Black History Month presentation at a local school in Berkeley, California, while she worked at DOE's Berkeley Site Office. Photo credit: Roy Kaltschmidt, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

men play drums as female dances The annual harambee with musical entertainment will also be held on February 23 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. All Woods Hole Black History Month activities will take place in the MBL's Swope Center.

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February 16, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki
Print Version

Woods Hole Black History Month Events Showcase African Americans Contributions to Science and Technology, Musical Entertainment

February 23 Events Include Annual Harambee

Woods Hole Black History Month events will focus on the achievements of blacks in science and technology, with a February 23 presentation by a noted physicist followed by a song and dance celebration and the annual Harambee. All events are free and open to the public and will be held at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL)'s Swope Center in Woods Hole. "The Crisis in Black Education” is the national theme for 2017 Black History Month activities.

On Thursday, February 23, physicist Hattie Carwell will present “African Americans Contributions to Science and Technology: Hidden in Plain Sight” at 3:00 p.m. in the Meigs Room at the MBL’s Swope Center.

Carwell will weave a tapestry of stories reflecting the times and circumstances of scientific breakthroughs and innovations by African Americans, ranging from the innovations of slaves and freedmen in the early 1800’s that led to the development of new industries to scientific breakthroughs in natural polymers to regenerate bone tissue.

Hattie Carwell is a native New Yorker who grew up in Ashland, Virginia. She received her B.S. degree in chemistry and biology in 1971 from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a historically black liberal arts college for women, and a M.S. degree in health physics from Rutgers University in 1971. In 1993 she received an honorary doctorate from Bennett College.

During her more than 36-year technical career, Carwell worked nationally and internationally for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a health physicist and nuclear safeguards group leader.  From 1980 to 1985, she went on leave to Vienna, Austria where she served as a nuclear safeguards inspector and group leader at the International Atomic Energy Agency. The group developed and executed the nuclear policies and procedures for IAEA safeguarding nuclear research reactors, enrichment plants and other nuclear research facilities throughout Northern Europe.

Carwell became a program manager for high energy and nuclear programs with the DOE San Francisco Operations Office in 1990, moving to the Berkeley Site Office in 1992 as a senior facility operations engineer. In 1994 she was promoted to DOE Operations Lead of the Environment and Safety Group at the Berkeley Site Office, which oversees and administers the management and operating contract for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to ensure that research and operations at the Lab were performed safely and consistently with federal and state requirements. She held that position until 2006, when she became a senior physical scientist before retiring in 2008.

In the mid-1970s she developed a research interest in the history of Black science achievement and has continued research on the subject, authoring many articles and technical papers. She has also published two books,Blacks in Science: Astrophysicist to Zoologist” and “In Pursuit of Excellence: Dr. Warren Henry, World Class Scientist.”

Carwell is co-founder and executive director of the Museum of African American Technology (MAAT) Science Village, which archives information on African American achievements in science and engineering, as well as exhibits and hands-on science demonstrations and activities for k-12 students to enhance their science interests. She is also assisting the National Technical Association (NTA), founded in1925 and the oldest minority technical organization in the country, in the collection of information about the technical contributions of the organization and its members. Carwell served as NTA president from 2010-2011.

She is a Board Member of the Northern California Council of Black Professional Engineers (NCCBPE) and served as President several terms; treasurer for the National Council of Black Engineers and Scientists; and co-founder and chair of the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST), which has awarded renewable scholarships for HBCU students in science or technology since 1983.

Carwell is also the founding President of the Coalition of Hispanics, African and Native Americans for the Next Generation of Engineers and Scientists, organized to help government, corporations and academia to accelerate the numbers and influence of minorities in STEM.  In addition, she is a member of the International Network for Appropriate Technology (INAT) which promotes technology to empower people.

Following the lecture, a variety of jazz, latin music and other forms of contemporary music chosen for the occasion will be performed by two modern jazz ensembles. A sunset Song and Dance Revue celebrating the song writing team of Denise 'Red' Randall, Craig Hlady and Dave Ramsay will present a mixture of originals and favorites. The latin jazz ensemble, Vicente Lebron and Friends, will follow and get the audience dancing.

Harambee, an annual ethnic potluck feast celebrating everyone of every race, and the entertainment will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at MBL’s Swope Center.

Woods Hole Black History Month events are sponsored by the Marine Biological Laboratory, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center), U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole Research Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Sea Education Association.

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