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 Career Corner, Lifestyle Corner

Superwoman: Achieving Work-Life Balance

First I want to say I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Easter and Happy Women’s History Month! I can’t believe this is my first blog post of 2016 because I took a blogging hiatus. It feels good to get back into the swing of blogging. For as long as I can remember I have been a bit of a workaholic. Last year was a busy year for me. I had work, blogging, projects, coursework, a personal life and many things going on. I had to take a step back and realize I need to reevaluate some things in my life to achieve a better work-life balance.

Even though I’m a young and healthy woman I have to remember I cannot do it all. I’m all for being a superwoman, but this superwoman needs a break. I’ve been reading a few blog posts here and there; talking to other women about this issue and realized that a superwoman needs to know her limits. In addition, a superwoman has to start saying “no”. When you say “no” that does not mean that you are being “rude”. A superwoman asserts herself and is confident. If you want to learn more about how you can be the best superwoman you can be in the workplace check out the book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel.

Besides this Lois P. Frankel’s book I recommend reading Dr. Amy Freeman’s book about work-life balance, Stress Less: 10 Balancing Insights on Work and Life. I did a Mademoiselle Spotlight on her last year and talked about how she is an inspiration to me as an African-American Woman in Science. She is a wonderful mentor and in her book I learned so many things about how I can achieve work-life balance. Continue reading “Superwoman: Achieving Work-Life Balance”

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 Career Corner, Spotlight on Science

Mademoiselle Scientist/Spotlight on Science: Dr. Monica Cox

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8) I want to do a double feature to spotlight Dr. Monica Cox as this month’s Mademoiselle Scientist and Spotlight on Science. If you want to check out my last double feature check out my feature about MySciCareer and Dr. Amy Freeman to learn more about women that are doing great things in science!

A couple of weeks ago I was on twitter and I came across Dr. Monica F. Cox after participating in a #BLACKandSTEM twitter chat. I clicked on her twitter profile and checked out some of her tweets and knew I had to follow her. I like to keep my Mademoiselle Scientists network growing because it helps me build a strong support system. In an earlier post I talked about the importance of professional mentors and how I didn’t have may women STEM mentors growing up. I’m glad to see that I’m finding mentors everywhere! Continue reading “Mademoiselle Scientist/Spotlight on Science: Dr. Monica Cox”

Posted in Career Corner

My Informational Interview Tips

Before subscribing to Science Mentor’s blog I was not familiar with informational interviews. After having my share of informational interviews I have learned a few things along the way. Here are my tips for informational interviews:

Let’s get started! Continue reading “My Informational Interview Tips”

Posted in Career Corner, Spotlight on Science

Spotlight on Science/Mademoiselle Scientists: MySciCareer

Last week I was reading Biochem Belle’s blog post, Changing Course, Part 3: Open exploration. This post was a continuation post and she shared how the myIDP tool helped her figure out where she wanted to go next in her career. After spending time on the myIDP tool she discovered, MySciCareer.com. Since I never heard MySciCareer I had to explore and decided this would be a be a great double Feature Spotlight on Science/Mademoiselle Scientist post. After all I enjoy finding new resources for scientists. Thank you Biochem Belle for sharing this resource and I look forward to reading more about your changing course series!

Spotlight on Science/Mademoiselle Scientists: MySciCareer:

MySciCareer was founded by two Mademoiselle Scientists that are biochemists, Eva Amsen and Lou Woodley. Eva is the Outreach Director at F1000 Research and Lou is currently a freelance community engagement specialist. Another cool thing about these Mademoiselle Scientists is that they are both bloggers and are big on science outreach. They both have lots of writing and blogging up their sleeve. Eva launched and ran the developmental biology blog, the Node, shares her musician side on her blog, MusiSci, and blogs on easternblog.net and The Finch and Pea. Lou founded and served as Managing Editor of BlueSci Magazine, If you want to see more of her, check out her blog, Social in Silico, where she integrates people, science and technology.

It’s great to see fellow Mademoiselle Scientists that are bloggers and collaborating. When I started Mademoiselle Scientist I only knew about a handful of women in STEM bloggers, now everyday my list is growing! If you know any blogs I should check out link them below in the comments section. I’m glad these Mademoiselle Scientists decided to come together to create MySciCareer Continue reading “Spotlight on Science/Mademoiselle Scientists: MySciCareer”