What. A. Year.
I was adamant about writing before 2021 because it will be my first time posting as frequently in over 5 years. Maybe next year I will meet my blog goal and post once a month. But, I'm also tired of making goals when so much can happen in a year, as seen in 2020, where our entire world has changed in 9 months. Being disappointed in what we "should" have accomplished this year wouldn't have allowed us to celebrate the successes of this year. Surviving a pandemic, a wildfire with hazardous air quality, political unrest, global racial awareness, etc. The list goes on because honestly, this year was so traumatic that I am hardly able to remember sometimes. What I do remember is that I felt more well rounded than I have in over a decade. With so much going on in the world, this year challenged me to strengthen my friendships, reactivate my artistic creativity, explore ways to give back - all while maintaining 6 feet and social distancing.
A small successes for 2020 included diving into my filipino roots. I have spent so much of my life dedicated to my Black community and background, but I wanted to also give time to my other half. I am also Filipina! I can go into a long discussion on being bi-racial and multitude of layers that creates in identity, but I'll stop for this post. I read Filipino American books (Thank you Carlos Bulosan, Jose Antonio Vargas and Elaine Castillo!), joined the Filipino American City Employees (FACE) Affinity group, and spent lots of time in the kitchen with my mama. I've also been making up for lost time and eating lumpia WAY too often. My mom always says it's supposed to be for celebrations, which I think is fair because 2020 calls for parties at dinnertime simply for maintaining sanity and joy.Lumpia! (No, it's not a spring roll)
Also, around August when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with the state of affairs, I did some research on starting scholarships, foundations, etc. Thanks to some great advice, I was able to start my own scholarship for BIPOC women majoring in engineering, the 'Brannon Diversity in Engineering Scholarship' through my alma mater, University of Portland (UP). It is essentially a unique way to support diversifying STEM fields, which to almost all who know me, is a passion. As part of the 2% of engineering graduates who are black women, I am personally vested in diversifying my field. My scholarship was highlighted this month by UP in their Annual Giving Campaign. Highlighting my scholarship was astounding because it got so much support! Seeing my friends become donors and even a local company supporting this effort brought me so much joy. I am so grateful to all of the donors who made my education possible via scholarships, so it is a pleasure to give back to the future generation of engineers. More info on my newest website tab! ;)