And check out a special performance from Haitian spoken word artist, Flose Boursiquot.
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20 September 2018 | Volume 1, Issue 6
  A note from our editor:
In this week’s issue of Assembly, we are doing our first ever reader spotlight — and I’m pretty excited about it. We love getting to know our readers and now you can get to know each other! Keep reading to meet 16-year-old Luiza from Brazil and to find out how you can get featured in an upcoming issue of Assembly.

Also in this issue is a special video by Haitian-born spoken word artist Flose Boursiquot — do not miss this powerful performance! We sit down with ballerina and quantum physicist Merritt Moore to discuss why her seemingly disparate passions are actually perfect complements. And we share a statistic about the wide-reaching benefits of girls playing sports.

Happy Thursday!
Let it Flose

Haitian-born spoken word artist Flose Boursiquot opens up about her relationship with poetry.
  By Tess Thomas
Flose Boursiquot found poetry during one of the most challenging periods of her life. After being sexually assaulted as a child, Flose turned to writing to cope with this heavy burden. “It was really just a way for me to process the trauma that I couldn't understand,” she explains. Putting words down on the page helped Flose deal with feelings of guilt, shame and fear. “I still have all of my notebooks from sixth, seventh, eighth grade and all of it is very sad because it’s this young girl trying to understand this thing that happened to her,” she says. “But I’m also really grateful to be able to see my progress and where I am today.”

What began as a form of therapy flourished into Flose’s passion as she wrote more and more. In high school she discovered spoken word poetry: “I realized that I really enjoyed speaking my poems just as much as I enjoyed writing them.” She started using her poetry as a platform to discuss political and social issues, including immigration, girls’ education, mental health and racism.

You can say that activism is in Flose’s DNA. Her father was a state representative in the southeast region of Haiti. “I grew in a household where my dad constantly was doing something political,” Flose recalls with a smile. “I just absorbed it growing up as a daddy’s girl. I always wanted to be around him, so whenever he had his meetings and stuff, I used to sit on his lap.”

Flose says her father’s political beliefs are similar to a socialist or populist party, which made him a target in Haiti: “I remember my dad being put in jail, I remember my grandfather being put in jail, all for political reasons. I remember some of my dad’s friends were either leaving to go to Canada, some folks were getting tortured, it was a pretty scary time.”

Read more.

Watch Flose perform “March on Sister,” a poem reminding young women why we can’t stay silent when faced with injustice.
Reader spotlight
“So, I think this photo really says something about me because I'm laughing and I'm a person who loves to laugh. I'm also posing with book covers and I really like to read so I think this is a nice self-portrait. #MyAssembly”
— Luiza, 16, Brazil, @LuMoura2705
We love meeting our readers and seeing who’s part of our community! Share a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram using #MyAssembly and tagging @MalalaFund. Be sure to tell us a little about yourself and you could be featured in an upcoming issue of Assembly!
Meet Merritt Moore, the quantum ballerina

Merritt Moore couldn’t choose between a career as a ballerina or a career as a physicist — so she decided to do both. While pursuing degrees in quantum physics from Harvard University and the University of Oxford, she also performed with companies like the Boston Ballet, English National Ballet and London Contemporary Ballet Theatre.

Merritt (or Dr. Moore now that she successfully defended her thesis!) knows her path is unconventional and she couldn’t imagine her life any other way. She finds that dancing helps unlock her creativity as a scientist and approaching ballet from an analytical perspective helps push herself physically. Merritt wants to show girls that science and the arts aren’t mutually exclusive — and that you don’t have to be defined by just one interest.

We asked Merritt about her experiences in the lab and dance studio, her work to make physics more accessible to young girls and what project she’s excited to work on next.

Malala Fund (MF): You’ve talked about how dancing makes you a better physicist and physics makes you a better dancer. How do you see those two worlds complementing each other?
Merritt Moore (MM):
I gravitated towards physics and dance because they are both non-verbal activities. I have always found movement and mathematics much more natural than words and requiring a similar mindset. I think it is silly to categorise people as having either an analytic brain or creative brain because actually both are required for science and arts. For example, creativity is needed all the time in the lab to think of new solutions to approach and visualise problems in a different way. And in the dance world, being analytic allows you to stretch the limits of your physical abilities while finding new, innovative forms of movement.

MF: Why are you determined to make physics more accessible to young female students?
I find it frustrating the way physics is taught. It starts with incredibly boring topics like ramps and pulleys, then puts a lot of emphasis on memorising and regurgitating facts. It’s incredibly isolating and there is an assumption that students should learn on their own from a textbook. I think there would be many more incredible female scientists if it was taught in a more collaborative way that emphasised imagination and creativity. That’s why I started SASters (Science-Art-Sisters) to encourage young girls to think and visualise science in a different more creative way.

Read more.
Did You Know?
When girls play sports, they are healthier, stay in school longer and are more likely to excel in traditionally male-dominated subjects, like STEM.
Girls playing sports
Get published in Assembly!
  Assembly publishes original work by girls, for girls. And we would love to include your voice! Send us your ideas and you could be featured in the next issue.
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