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Meet Carol Sutton Lewis, Cohost of Season 3

by Hilda Gitchell

Carol Sutton Lewis is the co-host of Season 3 of Lost Women of Science. She joined Katie Hafner to explore the life and career of Yvonne Young Clark (Y.Y.). Beyond her incredible work with LWoS, Carol is the host of the podcast Ground Control Parenting, a resource for the parents of children, particularly boys, of color. She is also a lawyer and has served on the boards of numerous educational organizations and schools. 

Carol kindly answered a few questions about her experience with LWoS this season and her life outside of work.

How do you start your day?

I usually start my day with a workout. Sometimes with a trainer (who makes me work VERY hard), sometimes on my own, usually involving cardio and weights.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I am a trained musician—studied piano and clarinet—and I attended the High School of Music and Art in NYC, where I had to audition to get in. I haven’t played either instrument in ages, but for a while there, I had musical talent!

Who are five people, alive or dead, that you’d like to invite to a dinner party?

The poets Phillis Wheatley and Langston Hughes, the playwrights Lorraine Hansberry and William Shakespeare, the artist Alma Thomas.

What were your goals for this season?

I wanted to tell Yvonne Young Clark’s story as richly and vividly as possible, I wanted to stretch my podcasting skills to include producing a narrative series (versus the Ground Control Parenting interview format), and I wanted to work with a great team to do all of this. Goals achieved!

Do you have a favorite story about Y.Y.?

There are so many great stories, but I really love the toaster story!  We tell it in Episode 1: When she was about nine, Y.Y. fixed the family’s toaster. She snuck the broken toaster out of the kitchen, figured out how to fix it and stealthily returned it. Her family didn’t realize what had happened until they were able to have toast the next morning! Her father cautioned her about the dangers of unsupervised work on electric appliances, but commended her for her ingenuity. That story reveals so many things about Y.Y.: her determination to figure out how to fix things (which ultimately led to her being heralded as a mechanical engineering troubleshooter); her interest in getting things done versus drawing attention to her ability to do them; and her parents’ consistent support of her interests and abilities.

Sweet or savory?

Savory, for sure. 

What’s something you’ve been watching, reading, or listening to lately?

Listening to: The SmartLess podcast. Funny guys, great guests, and I’ve been picking up good interviewing tips from them. 

Watching: Too many things at once!  But I am a sucker for British crime procedurals. Starting watching during the Covid lockdown and still hooked. 

Reading: Also lots at one time. I’m excited to have just started The Boys, a new novel by my LWoS co-host, Katie Hafner!

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a teacher?

“Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed. Then do the work necessary to take you where you want to go!”  When I was in college, Ralph Smith, a law professor at my university, rescued me from despair with this advice after a college professor suggested that I wasn’t cut out for law school. I took Professor Smith’s advice and was very happy to prove my college professor wrong when I graduated from Stanford Law School.  

What’s a book that everyone should read?

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers.

What’s a song you can listen to on repeat?

Anything by Chaka Khan.

What’s something that always makes you laugh?

I’ll go with someone: My kids and my husband.

What is your ideal travel destination? 


What are you most excited about right now?

Lots of things! I am thrilled with the positive reception that LWoS Season 3 has been getting, and am excited about continuing to encourage people to listen, so they can learn about and be inspired by Y.Y. Clark. I am also excited about being in the fourth season of Ground Control Parenting, which is now a part of the iHeart and the Seneca Women Podcast Networks. And I’m always excited about the future! There’s lots of great work to do.

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