Kendra Krueger: Community Scientist

Kendra Krueger is a community scientist working in Denver, Colorado. She works to reclaim processes of inquiry, discernment and liberation for individuals, children and communities.

What do you do?

Sometimes it is as simple as asking, how can this apply to a different situation?  It's all about repeating patterns in nature.  The universe has a fractal nature so many patterns overlap in ecological, thermodynamic, social and emotional contexts. We play games and 'run simulations' like acting out a solar system and learning about gravity and then looking at the same exercise through a lens of power dynamics and hierarchies where everyone is just trying to keep up and follow the most dominant (massive) powers in the system, while the folk at the far end tend to get forgotten about and flung off. 


I also highlight in my work that science does not exist in a vacuum; it exists in a complex and often unjust society. As objective as we would like our work to be, it simple won't be since we who implement it are very subjective beings.  This is not a terrible thing. In fact this can make science even more powerful and useful because we can be honest about our biases and utilize our love and compassion to apply our knowledge and technology to things we care about.  If we don't seek to ask ourselves what the reason for our work is others will take advantage of it and use it for their power or profit.


Why is that important?

I work at the intersections of science, social justice and sustainability. As a woman of color I have a unique perspective to illuminate how connected all three of these fields are. Folks tell me that my workshops and talks help widen their perspective and spark their curiosity to see the connections within all different levels of their lives.  Also some tend to feel a heightened sense of social responsibility to consider how their work impacts society.


What does a typical day look like?

 Goodness, everyday can be so different. Typically I spend some time each day working on 'Pattern Modules'.  These are patterns that exist on three levels, Science, Social Systems and Personal Experience. I then research and invent different ways to teach these patterns which include both analytical and intuitive methods.


Additionally I spend a lot of time working in community and being a crosspolinator. I help organize urban farm action days where we bring workshops and performers from all different communities together to mingle and build relationships.


What's the coolest thing you've done?

 I had a 6 month stint working at the Very Large Array Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico. I met some of the most amazing people out there and got to climb on huge antennas!



What is a misconception in your field?

 The most common misconception I deal with in my work is that social justice is not relevant to science. Science does not exist in a vacuum and humans can never be truly objective enough to not be influenced by social norms and biases.


Thanks for your contributions to science, art, and society! If you’d like to nominate a STEM friend (or yourself), fill out the AweSTEM people form.