Anicca Harriot dabbed her way to internet stardom. But unlike other folks who often just dab to celebrate a moment, Anicca put pencil to paper and calculated the angle of her dab by hand. She posted the angle, 31.70 degrees to be exact, on Twitter, and the tweet has since gained more than 27,000 retweets and 37,000 likes.
Anicca’s love of math and science has been building since she was a child.
“I remember being 7 years old and getting my first microscope—it was my prized possession,” she told The Root. “I have always loved science; I always knew that I’d end up in STEM.”
Over the summer, she worked with NASA’s Langley Autonomy Incubator and the Eastern Virginia Medical School. In May 2015, she interviewed Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who inspired the story of Hidden Figures. Eventually, Anicca’s work at NASA caught the eye of Margot Shetterly, the author of Hidden Figures. Currently, she is working on a project that’s geared toward black girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics because as we’ve heard—time and time again—women of color are grossly underrepresented in the STEM industry.
But that hasn’t stopped Anicca from dreaming big. In the fourth grade, she used to pretend large cardboard boxes were rocket ships. And with her work at NASA, she’s on the path to pursuing her ultimate dream of becoming an astronaut and researching how long-term space travel affects the human body. Last fall, she was asked by the White House to participate on a panel about how to get students interested in the field.
“To me, the most rewarding part of learning and teaching STEM is knowing that what I am doing has the potential to make a positive impact,” she told The Root. “Whether I am working on a research project that contributes to health sciences or mentoring students who want to pursue STEM careers, the knowledge that I am making every effort to use my passion and skills to better the human condition is incredibly rewarding.”