Posted in Academic Corner, Career Corner

Black History Month Edition: My Experiences Participating in Research Training, Mentoring Programs & Science Organizations

In honor of Black History Month I was inspired to share my experiences participating in research training, mentoring programs and science organizations. I am grateful for all of my experiences and mentors that helped me become the woman in science that I am today. Coming from an inner city neighborhood and entering a big rural state university was like a dream. My main goal was to get a great education and learn as much as possible to prepare for science career. Everything after that was an added bonus. I joined science organizations and reached out to science peers for support. For the first time I was able to see people in science that looked like me and I was determined to use the many resources that my university offered.

I participated in science programs such as: Women and Science and Engineering Orientation and the Minority Undergraduate Research Experience Program. These programs taught me the importance of leadership and strong mentoring.  I gained research experience, science knowledge and confidence that I could pursue a science career. This inspired me to use my science background not only to include research, but include helping other scientists, especially underrepresented groups.

I encourage everyone to seek mentoring, the earlier the better. If you are looking for science mentors check out research training programs, mentoring programs and science organizations. There is a mentor for everyone. As a Gates Millennium Scholar (GMS) later I went on to become a mentor in the GMS program. Then when I entered graduate school I served on the Graduate Student Association to help first-year graduate students transition. I am passionate about helping the next generations of scientists. Science is challenging and fun, but rewarding. At times in the midst of progress I was faced with moments of negativity. There were people who told me that I did not belong and that I would not achieve my goals. I did not let their negativity stop me. I’m sure most of us have experienced negativity or felt alone in science at one point. Don’t let that stop you. Keep moving forward, pave the way and soon there will be others like you in your career. Continue reading “Black History Month Edition: My Experiences Participating in Research Training, Mentoring Programs & Science Organizations”

Posted in Academic Corner, Career Corner, Mentoring Series

Finding Mentors + My Top Mentee Tips

In my previous post I shared my insight on the different types of mentors and how they have helped me on my journey as a woman in science. No matter what stage you are in your career you can benefit from having a mentor and being a mentor.

Just like many relationships; I have found the best mentors when I was not looking. I was at the right place at the right time. I remember one particular story of finding a mentor. I was at a National Society of Black Engineers Convention and I attended a GEM Consortium Workshop: “Why you should go to graduate school?” I was so impressed, inspired and motivated after the workshop and I realized I found my mentor (the presenter). After the workshop was over I introduced myself and asked him to be my mentor and he said yes. He gave me great advice and the top two takeaway messages I learned were: Remember what you came for and this (insert hardship/challenge you are facing) could be a blessing in disguise.

If you find yourself in a similar situation or find someone who would be a great mentor ask them for advice. People love giving advice. In my experiences most people said yes. The people who said no were people who were super busy or I learned that they were not a good match for me. How did you find your mentor?

Finding Mentors: Continue reading “Finding Mentors + My Top Mentee Tips”

Posted in Academic Corner, Career Corner, Mentoring Series

Different Types of Mentors and My Mentoring Experiences

In my last blog post I shared how self-mentoring and understanding what you need in a mentor is the first step when finding a mentor. One of my first mentors was my aunt who is an electrical engineer and she gave me so much insight on my career. In high school I had a mentor that took me under her wing and helped me work on my Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS) Application. I was so happy when I found out I got the GMS Scholarship, especially after opening a rejection letter from my dream college. These are just two examples of how mentors played a role in my life and I am grateful that they were my mentors. Fast forward years later one of my professors told me that I will need different types of mentors. And he was right!

Different Types of Mentors: Continue reading “Different Types of Mentors and My Mentoring Experiences”

Posted in Academic Corner, Career Corner, Mentoring Series

Self-Mentoring and Understanding What you Want in a Mentor

A little over two years ago I wrote a blog post about journaling for self-mentoring and have been promising to share my favorite mentoring tips on Mademoiselle Scientist. Today I decided that it is time for me to share my mentoring tips and start my May Mentoring Series. I hope you find this information helpful and if you are a recent graduate or know a recent graduate check out my recent graduate series.

Even though the spring semester is coming to an end now is a good time to start thinking about finding a mentor. This is a good time to network and meet people because there will be many social events going on campus and in the community. Don’t be to hard on yourself if you do not find a mentor right away because it takes time. Throughout my journey as a woman in science I had many types of mentors and have learned a lot from my mentoring experiences. Mentoring like any relationship is a partnership and commitment.

Self-Mentoring and Understanding What you Want in a Mentor:

1. Update myIDP tool:
As you may know I am a huge fan of the myIDP tool. I enjoy staying organized, reevaluating and updating my goals and the myIDP tools helps me do that. When you update the myIDP tool you will be able to see what things you need to talk to a mentor about and what things you can solve by self-mentoring.

2. Use your resources:
There are many resources available and many of them are free. Use the internet as a resource to find what you want in a mentor. Find articles (Levo League), blogs (The Thesis Whisperer, Science Mentor and Tenure, She Wrote) and people (Dr. Amy Freeman, Dr. Monica Cox and Dr. Renetta Tull) that are doing what you would like to do. This is a great way to find out what career pathways you want to explore. If you want a more hands-on approach check out my recommend books on my useful book list and seasonal reading lists.

3. Remember your role:
When you self-mentor you are playing a double role. You are a mentor and you are a mentee. Think about the strong points you want in a mentor and focus on using these points as a way to self-mentor. This will help you be a better mentor to others and help you find the right mentor when the time is right. Continue reading “Self-Mentoring and Understanding What you Want in a Mentor”

Posted in Academic Corner, Career Corner

Resources for Scientists using MOOCs: Coursera vs Edx.org

If you have been subscribed to my blog you know that I enjoy learning. Whenever I find a resource I have to share it. My two favorite resources for online learning are Coursera.org and Edx.org. These two Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) sites are perfect if you want to learn something new now.

After a few years of using both of these MOOC sites: Coursera.org and Edx.org I have a good feel about what they have to offer. Both sites offer tons of courses in various subjects taught by professors from universities around the world. Whether you want to earn a certificate, learn a new subject area, enhance your knowledge for your career or enroll in a multiple-course specialization unit Coursera.org and Edx.org are perfect for you.

Both MOOC sites have apps available for smartphones and tablets which makes learning on-the-go easy. I prefer to use my computer to take my courses and I like use Microsoft OneNote to take notes. I like using OneNote because it helps me keep the information organized and I like that it gives me that notebook feel even though I use it on the computer.

After using both sites I can honestly say you can’t go wrong with Coursera.org or Edx.org. Both will give you a great digital learning experience to help you in your career. Whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, professional or thinking about learning something new I’m sure you will find a course that fits your needs. I suggest creating an account for both to keep track of what courses are available. There are so many courses and you don’t want to miss out.  Continue reading “Resources for Scientists using MOOCs: Coursera vs Edx.org”

Posted in Academic Corner

Resources for Scientists: Online Learning Using Edx.org

Last year I talked about using Coursea.org  as an Online Learning tool. I’m an advocate for learning more and taking advantage of resources, especially when they are free. After taking several Coursera.org courses I decided to explore other MOOC sites and I came across Edx.org.

Edx.org has a different look than Coursera.org and from my first glance at the site I can tell that Edx.org wants the online learning experience to be user-friendly. Before you take a course on Edx.org there is a free self-paced DemoX course that will help you get familiar with how Edx.org works. Continue reading “Resources for Scientists: Online Learning Using Edx.org”

Posted in Academic Corner

Back to School Tips for Undergraduate & Graduate Students (STEM Edition)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Back to School Time! Good luck to everyone going back to school or starting a new school this year. I wish you the best. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student this post is for you.

My Back to School Tips: Continue reading “Back to School Tips for Undergraduate & Graduate Students (STEM Edition)”

Posted in Academic Corner, Career Corner

The Real Talk about the PhD #PioneerChat Reflection:

Since many people are graduating I thought it would be a good time to share some PhD reflections from a #PioneerChat. A few months ago I participated in: The Real Talk about the PhD #PioneerChat hosted by Dr. Monica F. Cox with guest host, Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro. As a prospective PhD student I was looking forward to this twitter chat because I wanted to see what people who have been through the PhD process have to say. Plus it’s a great way to e-meet and network with fellow women in STEM.

To find out more about #PioneerChats, Dr. Monica Cox and Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro click here.

Just in case you missed the #PioneerChat click here to see it on storify.

Let’s get started!: Continue reading “The Real Talk about the PhD #PioneerChat Reflection:”

Posted in Academic Corner

#DearME STEM College Student Edition: What I Would Tell My Younger Self Part II

A few months ago I was watching a beauty related video on YouTube and I came across this #DearME video. The #DearME Initiative is a global Initiative started by YouTube to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8) to empower young girls everywhere. After watching a few #DearME videos I was inspired share my #DearME STEM College Student Edition. I believe it is important to reflect on the past to truly understand your journey. If you are a recent graduate or looking to update your myIDP tool write down the advice you would give your younger self. Think back to when you were a freshman in college. Here are the things I would tell my younger self – STEM College Student Edition:

#DearME: My Advice to My Younger Self – STEM College Student Edition:

1. It’s okay if you change your major: When you go to college you may have an idea about what major or career you want, but things can change. After taking a few courses you may want to explore different majors. Talk to your academic advisor and upperclassmen to see what other majors are out there. Remember your major doesn’t define you. Whether you want to become an engineer, scientist or work in public health there are many pathways to your career.

2. Don’t be afraid to be assertive: Ask questions, reach out to potential mentors and network. As a freshman this can be a bit scary, but give it a try. When you come out of your shell and start putting yourself out there people will notice. Plus you never know what opportunities you will find. If you are looking for some tips and tricks the book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois Frankel is a good resource.

3. Explore the opportunities that STEM can take you early on: A STEM degree can take you anywhere. Sometimes thinking about different career paths can be a bit overwhelming as a STEM college student. Take time to talk to people and explore the opportunities at your university’s career center. Whether you want to study abroad, do research or get an internship seek opportunities. Even if you are a freshman you can start.

4. Remember your hard work will pay off: Being a STEM college student is a challenge, but all the obstacles you will face are worth it. Study-a-thons, hectic schedules and 4-hour chemistry labs may seem like a lot, but you will make it. Space out your course-load so that you can have a fun course in the mix of your STEM courses. The life of a STEM college student is about balance and you will learn it before you graduate. Remember success is great, but you don’t have to break yourself getting there. There will be ups and downs, but you will get through it.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help before it is too late: If you are having a difficult time in one of your STEM courses ask for help. Find a group of peers in your major. Groups like NSBE, SWE, SHPE and SOT are great places to start. Plus if you join these groups you can make new friends in your major and have a strong support system to help you through your college career.

6. Enjoy your college experience: Even though you may have a busy life as a STEM college student make sure you have fun. Go to social events, join groups or play sports. College is not only about getting your education, but it is also about having fun. When you graduate college you want to look back and say you were able to earn your degree and enjoy your college experience.

7. Don’t let negativity get you down: There will be people who believe that women or minorities in STEM cannot be successful. Don’t let their negativity get in your way of moving forward in your STEM career. Find a group of people who get you and can help you through your tough times.

To learn more check out part I of my advice to my younger STEM self.

What would you tell your younger self as a STEM College Student? #DearME

Share below.

Posted in Academic Corner

Make the Most of Your Study Break

It’s about that time. For those of us preparing for midterms, finals, GRE or any other exam we all know the feeling. We feel stressed, hardly get any sleep, eat the wrong things and may not feel our best. We can change these things by having a plan.

When I was in college we had Study-A-Thons during Finals week. This was a great because I was able to study during the weekend before finals tutors, peers and have three meals and even snacks! This is awesome! Every school should have this. Check it out if your school has this. If not, start a mini Study-A-Thon with your friends.

Before you get started studying let’s talk about making the most of your study break. During midterm and final season you will hear many tips for studying, but sometimes you don’t really hear many tips about how have the best study break ever. To me study breaks are just important as study tips. You need balance.

Here are to Make the Most of Your Study  Break: Continue reading “Make the Most of Your Study Break”