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XQ

When Margarita Bianco was getting ready to apply to colleges, her guidance counselor told her she "wasn’t college material."

His remark almost put a huge damper on Bianco's plans for her future.

"I almost listened to him, thinking he knew more than I did," she recalls.


Thankfully, however, she refused to be knocked down by his defeating words. She applied to college anyway and ended up getting into William Paterson University.

Margarita Bianco. Photo via XQ.

"The first thing I did with my acceptance letter was place that letter on [my guidance counselor's] desk," Bianco says.

She wanted him to know how wrong he was about her but also that, as an educator, his words have power and can have detrimental effects on students.

It's unclear whether the counselor's opinion of Bianco was influenced by racial prejudice, but several other similar school experiences led her to assume it played a part.  

She made it her mission to "flip the script" and do something about the lack of diversity among public school teachers.

[rebelmouse-image 19529985 dam="1" original_size="1066x800" caption="Pathways2Teaching student working with a younger student. Image via Pathways2Teaching, used with permission." expand=1]Pathways2Teaching student working with a younger student. Image via Pathways2Teaching, used with permission.

She started a program called Pathways2Teaching, which was designed to encourage high school students, especially students of color, to pursue a teaching career.

"Teachers need to mirror the student population," Bianco declares.

83% of teachers in America are white, and 75% are women. Meanwhile, minorities make up the majority of public school students. That doesn't exactly help them embrace their cultures and backgrounds.

Despite the current disparity, studies have found that students, no matter their race, generally prefer to have teachers of color.

[rebelmouse-image 19529986 dam="1" original_size="1100x679" caption="A male student teacher working with kids. Image via Pathways2Teaching, used with permission." expand=1]A male student teacher working with kids. Image via Pathways2Teaching, used with permission.

What's more, students of color tend to perform better academically when they have a teacher of color. The theory behind this is that students are more likely to connect with teachers who are sensitive to their cultural needs.

Such role models were sorely lacking in Bianco's adolescence, which is why she was inspired to become a teacher in the first place.

Now in its eighth year, Pathways2Teaching is well on its way to becoming an academic model for the entire country.

A teacher reads to students. Photo via XQ.

Similar to Grow Your Own Teachers, Pathways is helping set a precedent for the kind of diversity all schools should be advocating for. By fostering local prospective teachers of color, they're not only encouraging educator diversity, they're showing students how valuable people of color are to the academic community.

In a country that's in desperate need of some new role models, there couldn't be a better time for a program like this to flourish.

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

Learn more about Pathways and Bianco's story here:

XQ Luminaries: Margarita Bianco

Through a curriculum focused on cultural understanding, this teacher is motivating students of color to become engaged in education.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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