Why A Robotics Professor Writes Black STEM Romance Novels

Dr. Carlotta Berry writes romance novels about Black women in the sciences to encourage more people to go into the field.

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A Black woman smiling at the camera, holding up a robotics project.
Dr. Carlotta Berry. Credit: Carlotta Berry

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (also known as STEM) are not particularly diverse. And despite a gradual uptick in diversity over the last decade, a 2023 report from the National Science Foundation showed that only 24% of people in these industries are Hispanic, Black, or Native American.

Dr. Carlotta Berry is working to change that, taking an untraditional approach to encourage people from marginalized backgrounds to enter the sciences. She is, as she puts it, an engineering professor by day and romance novelist by night. Working under the pen name Carlotta Ardell, she writes youth-friendly romance novels featuring Black protagonists who work in STEM fields.

SciFri producer and host of the Universe Of Art podcast D. Peterschmidt sat down with Dr. Berry, who is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, to talk about how she got started on this journey and why she wants to make STEM a little steamier.

Further Reading

  • Explore NoireSTEMinist, Berry’s consulting company that aims to improve diversity in STEM.

Meet the Writer

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

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