Linda Denson, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, has the mind of an engineer and the heart of a community activist. From a young age, scientific inquiry and problem-solving have intrigued her intellectually, while the injustices she observed from her surroundings embedded in her a deep and intense passion for activism.
Linda’s interest in STEM, and specifically engineering, dates back to middle school, when she began to participate in science fairs and Lego robotics. Winning competitions was a way for her to prove to herself early on that she could excel in these spaces where she seldom saw people who looked like her. Recently, her interest in STEM was furthered by her participation in the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science(MITES) at MIT in the summer of 2018. Linda plans to increase Black female visibility and representation in the engineering field not only by practicing engineering herself, but also by empowering other young Black women to do so.
Linda’s love for advocacy largely stems from observing her own circumstances and realizing how they were different from wealthier, whiter children. In the long run, Linda ultimately wants to dedicate her life to creating a more equitable world, where there is no gap in opportunity due to race, gender, or familial wealth. Her passion for learning about and fighting injustices was solidified in her participation in the Telluride Association Sophomore Seminar on Black Feminist Thought at Cornell University in the summer of 2017. Most of Linda’s personal activism is funneled through two organizations: the Benjamin Franklin High School Black Culture Club and the Academic Games team at Benjamin Franklin Elementary. As president of Black Culture Club, Linda organizes and facilitates events and discussions aimed at making a more racially sensitive Franklin. She’s held seminars, panels, discussions with administrators, and celebratory showcases of Black culture. As the head coach of her elementary school’s Academic Games team, she provides students who grew up like her with a role model and an equal opportunity to develop a healthy relationship with learning.
Above all else, Linda’s intellectual curiosity and strong values of justice and equity have determined her life trajectory. Her legacy will illustrate that we can and should break the societal barriers imposed on us by race, gender, and class.