What does it mean to live your life unapologetically?
This week, we introduce you to a young lady who is unapologetically #StrongEnough. Meet Jaleesa Trapp, a 28-year old mold-breaker. She is a Computer Science Teacher, Coordinator at the Tacoma Clubhouse, and a Graduate Student in the Human Centered Design and Engineering program at the University of Washington. Whew! What a mouthful!
Here is Jaleesa’s #StrongEnough story:
- Tell us about (describe) yourself.
I grew up, and currently live in Tacoma, WA, USA. I am the Coordinator at the Tacoma Clubhouse which is one of more than one hundred Clubhouses around the world, and a member of the Clubhouse Network I teach Computer Science at the Science and Math Institute (SAMi), an innovative high school. In the fall, I will be teaching at a brand new innovative high school called Industrial Design Engineering and Art (iDEA).
- What are your hobbies (things you enjoy doing)?
I enjoy reading science fiction books, trying new foods, and building things with LEGOS.
- What activities are you involved with in your community?
I’m on the Board of Directors of Peace Community Center, an after school program centered on academic achievement for students in grades 2-12. I’m involved with a redesign project for a community farm called Hilltop Urban Gardens. I do social justice work with a group called Tacoma Action Collective. I also like going to a bunch of different events put on by amazing people in my community. I love supporting dedicated and talented people in any way I can.
- Who or what inspires you?
The late Luversa Sullivan, and the youth in my community inspire me. Ms. Luversa taught me to be myself unapologetically as I engaged in STEM activities, and especially computer science. The first time I wrote code, I was working on a project that required me to do research on Black inventors. It was an interactive CD-ROM called “What if There Were No Black People?”, based on a play I had seen and been apart of. It was then that I realized I could do and be anything I wanted. In the past I thought computer science meant I’d sit at a desk all day and write code for projects I didn’t care about. From Luversa, I learned I could do what I liked and do what I cared about.
- Is there something you are passionate about? If yes, what is it?
I’m passionate about helping youth understand how to use technology as a tool, being creators instead of consumers.
- What is the biggest challenge that you see facing girls in your community?
I see a lot of girls in my community apologizing for who they are. I see a lot of girls discouraged from speaking up for themselves, and others. I see a lot of people dismissive of the wonderful things girls can contribute to the community (locally and globally).
- What advice would you like to share with girls in your community?
Don’t let society define you, be anything you want to be. If it doesn’t exist, create it.
- Who is your favorite female leader/role model, and why?
Shirley Ann Jackson. She is a physicist, and the first Black woman to receive a doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the second to receive one in physics. She is my favorite role model because she broke, and continues to break, social barriers and stigmas around women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.
- What do the words “Strong Enough” mean to you?
It means that I can do anything I put my mind to, no matter the barriers I face. It means that I’m strong enough to not only break down social barriers imposed upon me from a very young age, but also succeed.
- Do you have a favorite quote/verse/song lyric?
“I don’t measure my life by the struggles, because one has to go through the struggles to get to the endpoint.” – Shirley Ann Jackson
We admire you so much Jaleesa and celebrate you as our #SEGoftheWeek. We are proud to have you as a role model. Keep being an inspiration to our generation and the next!
Feel free to connect with Jaleesa via Twitter: @JaleesaT.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!
Do you have a question for Jaleesa? Has her story inspired you? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.