STEM Gets Marvelous for a Local Student

Imani Porter has always loved science, a passion that recently landed her on the red carpet as a finalist in the Marvel Studios’ ‘Doctor Strange’ – The Magic of STEM Challenge.

“In order to do the challenge we had to submit a vlog which is pretty much a scientific video about our STEM experiences and what our experiment was, and how we could take it from magical to practical,” said Imani.

Imani’s experiment – a look at how bacteria on the scalp impacts hair growth.

She explains, “The body is covered in bacteria, it’s within and outside the body and it impacts pretty much how our body functions. So our environment could be impacted by the bacteria or the bacteria could impact its environment, so I wanted to see how the microbes on the scalp could impact the hair growth.”

Hair is a subject Imani is well versed in, as her mother is a hair scientist, with her own business.

“Since she could walk, I always took her to some of my talks and events and have her be my little helper. So any time I did hair talks that’s what she did, she has always been immersed in hair science, said Cryatl Porter, Imani’s mother.

A knowledge she now wants to use to help others.

“It’s more than just hair, it’s a part of people – they see themselves differently when they have hair. People love long thick hair. And then people who don’t have it strive to get that hair. So – it’s a big part of how people see themselves,” said Imani.

And thanks to her involvement in DuPage ACT-SO, or Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, Scientific Olympics, Imani has had the opportunity to pursue her STEM passions at Argonne National Laboratory.

“This is our fourth year participating in the Argonne ACT-SO high school research program. We started it because the Department of Energy has a commitment to increasing the presence of underrepresented groups in STEM fields. We’re very fortunate to have students like Imani. They’re very dedicated, they’re very passionate about STEM. And so we give them an outlet to kind of explore different areas of STEM,” said Chief Operations Officer for Physical Science and Engineering at Argonne, Dr. Maria Curry-Nkansah.

Just 15-years-old, Imani plans to continue her research and STEM pursuits for many years to come.

Imani is currently looking for volunteers to be a part of a hair loss and scalp health study. [hairlossstudy@maneinsights.com]

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.

 

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