New Orleans native Allayjah Meredith, is a physics major with a concentration in astronomy at LSU.
What inspired you to study science? Allayjah: “I've always been intrigued by space, what’s out there beyond our little galaxy, and why the universe behaves the way it does. Pursuing a degree in Physics and Astronomy was the perfect option for me to learn the information and mathematics behind it all!”
Your first semester at LSU you took an astronomy class. What was your impression from that experience? Allayjah: My first time being taught exclusively Astronomy was in Astro 1102. I had the privilege of being taught by Dr. Amber Stuver, and it was such a joy going to that class. Being able to finally learn more in depth about the field I want to one day make into my career, was exciting.
I'm inspired to continue to learn about astronomy as much as I can because I've always been so intrigued and curious about it. I can remember back in middle school watching the history channel's series on science dealing with 'Our Sun', 'The Solar System', 'The Big Bang', and more apocalyptic type topics such as 'What Were to Happen if the Earth Stopped Spinning', 'What if Our Sun Disappeared.' I would always try and remember all the small bits of new information (which was most of it for me at the time) the scientist/consultants would throw out when explaining these stellar events/ideas. Because of this, once I got to high school I realized I was more so drawn to the theoretical physics world. I'd research thought experiments and articles on a wide range of theories and try to wrap my head around it all.
What advice would you give to young women aspiring to be like you? Allayjah: “No matter how outlandish your dreams or goals are to anyone else, or even yourself, go for it! We need dreamers and creatively brilliant minds to help change the world from what it is today, to what it needs to be in the future."
I'm not the best physics/mathematics student by far, but I believe it's my passion and love for astronomy that has helped me learn to understand the value and importance of these topics for all fields of science. I'm determined to continue to push myself to see how much I can achieve and exactly what I can do so that one day, I might be able to be on the edge of scientific discovery in my field such as some of the amazing professors/mentors I've gotten to meet thus far. Of course it's challenging, but I believe it's worth it.
I used to coast by in high school and was still at the top of my class and got presidential awards and such at graduation, but it's completely different in college. You get pushed to learn about the way you take in information in order to succeed in your classes and sometimes it's tough. We all do poorly on test/quizzes here and there but you can't let it completely discourage you. I used to be extremely apprehensive about being a Physics major because Astronomy is more my strong suit, but if I don't at least give it try, who knows what experiences I'll miss out on. I'd rather have a career I know will push me to be a better mind than always continue to just coast by.
What is your science “superpower”? Allayjah: “My science superpower would be my ability to help myself better understand a topic or concept by first explaining it to someone else. As I talk to my friends and family about theoretical physics and certain aspects of quantum mechanics, I've realized the more I try to get them to wrap their heads around it, the better I understand it myself and can make analytical ties to other concepts.”