This week, Jared Bowen recaps his conversation with the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, Amanda Gorman, and reviews the film “Picture a Scientist,” which begins streaming via the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s website on Friday.

Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first ever Youth Poet Laureate graduates from Harvard University

Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman '20, the first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, is pictured in Harvard Yard at Harvard University.
Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University GORMAN

Among the 2020 graduating class at Harvard University is Amanda Gorman — a 22-year-old sociology major and the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America. As Youth Poet Laureate, Gorman has spoken around the country at venues including the Library of Congress and the United Nations. She also recited her poetry with the Boston Pops during their 2019 4th of July Spectacular.

Gorman has published a book of poetry titled “The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough.” She is also the founder and executive director One Pen One Page, which provides free creative writing programs for underserved youth. On Open Studio with Jared Bowen, Gorman shared her poem “The Miracle of Morning” and described how she came to its uplifting message during this moment in history.

“I was thinking about ‘what do humans do when they are scared and alone and isolated from the rest of the world?’” Says Gorman, “and often it's truth telling, and it's telling stories that matter.”

“Picture a Scientist,” virtually streaming via the Coolidge Corner Theatre website beginning June 12, with a panel discussion from the subjects and filmmakers on June 17

Picture a Scientist
Dr. Raychelle Burks in "Picture a Scientist."
Courtesy of the filmmakers and Coolidge Corner Theater

A new documentary addressing sexism in the field of science is streaming online via the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Following its success at the Tribeca Film Festival, “Picture a Scientist” provides a close look at the careers of three women scientists — Dr. Raychelle Burks, Dr. Nancy Hopkins, and Dr. Jane Willenbring — and chronicles the abuse, harassment, and sexism they have endured. The film also takes a broader look at the widespread consequences of the sexual discrimination and burnout that is ever-present in their line of work including women who left the field prematurely and potential scientific discoveries never made.

“We were just trying to be scientists, we certainly didn’t want to be seen as troublemakers,” says Dr. Hopkins in the film of a career that began at MIT in the early 1970s. “And I didn’t tell anybody because who is going to believe you?… Nobody.

“Picture a Scientist paints a revolting one,” says Jared. “Here we meet three women, whose study and practice stretches from the 1960s to today, who have spent their entire careers fending off abuse, marginalization and racism. The film documents a reckoning both within the field and in our own brains with its fascinating and frightening examination of bias.”

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