#ThankYourMentor – National Mentoring Month: My Science Mentoring Story

Happy New Year and Happy National Mentoring Month! Throughout the month we have seen posts, tweets and stories about the importance of mentoring. This is why The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health started National Mentoring Month back in 2002. National Mentoring Month focuses national attention on the need for mentors to ensure positive effect in young people. 1 in 3 young people will grow up without a mentor. Mentoring makes a difference, especially for underrepresented students who are interested in STEM fields. When students have science mentors it gives them the opportunity to learn about different science career options and build a positive support system.

Since today is the last event of National Mentoring Month (#ThankYourMentor day) and this is my first blog post of 2018 what better time to share how mentoring has made an impact on my science journey. I believe in the impact of mentors and encourage you to mentor someone new. In honor of #ThankYourMentor day I am going to share a few of my mentoring experiences.

As I mentioned in my Mentoring Series, mentoring at all stages is essential for students in the STEM fields, especially underrepresented minority students.  Continue reading #ThankYourMentor – National Mentoring Month: My Science Mentoring Story

A Bit More About Mademoiselle Scientist + The Importance of Having a Science Community

This month I celebrated my 4th Blog Anniversary and I decided it was a great time for me to share a bit more about the Mademoiselle Scientist behind the blog. My name is Martina and I am a toxicologist, science writer, and STEM education advocate. I started Mademoiselle Scientist as a way to share my journey as a woman in STEM and help the next generation of scientists. I am passionate about all things science: research, mentoring, education and outreach. I want to help scientists succeed, students excel and share information that I have learned along my journey. I see myself as a mentor sharing advice I wish I would have known when I was getting started in STEM.

Early in my journey, there were not many resources like we have today. I remember taking a Minorities in STEM Freshman Seminar Class at Penn State and that was the first time I saw a large group of students that looked like me that were aspiring scientists and engineers. A few years later I found myself surrounded by even more scientists and engineers at the National Society of Black Engineers National Convention. Now I am seeing an increase of scientists and engineers who are in leadership roles in higher education, science policy, research and science communication that as a freshman I did not see. It is incredible to see science, education and research change, but it is also amazing that I have this platform. When I started my blog I did not think that my experiences, the information I learned along the way and resources would turn into a science community. I just wanted a way to help scientists, especially college and underrepresented students learn that they too can become scientists and engineers.

Every day the science community is growing. In 2013 when I started my blog there were only a few blogs out there. Out of the few blogs, I read there were not many blogs that shared information to help scientists, college students and those thinking about graduate school. Also, I did not see many blogs run by minorities or women in STEM. Today there is a blog for everyone.

A Few of My Favorite Blogs in the Science Community: Continue reading A Bit More About Mademoiselle Scientist + The Importance of Having a Science Community

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 a STEM 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 the 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, scientific 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

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

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 too 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 recommended 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

Superwoman: Achieving 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 Black Woman in STEM. 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

10 Gift Ideas for Scientists II:

It’s that time of year when you need to figure out what to get the scientist in your life. What do you give the scientist or engineer that seems to have it all? Will she like it? Will it be cool enough? I’ve got you covered. Here are some great gift ideas that will make any scientist smile.

10 Gift Ideas for Scientists II:

 

 

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1. Books:

Stress Less: 10 Balancing Insights on Work and Life by Amy Freeman, Ph.D. and the Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome & How to Thrive in Spite of it by Valerie Young. I read these books recently and I would highly recommend them to any women who wants to be successful in her career or life in general. Books are always a great gift and I always look forward to adding a good book to my collection.

2. Erin Condren Life Planner:

If the scientist in your life has a busy schedule you should give her a planner. I’ve been hearing a lot about the Erin Condren Planner and I can see why. It is very pretty and has a lot of space which is perfect for the scientist in your life that likes to stay organized. Plus you can customize the planner.

3. Elemental, My Dear Spice Rack Set from ModCloth:

This is such a fun, but quirky science-themed gift for the scientist in your life that loves to cook. Plus it will add a bit of science charm to their kitchen.

4. S’well Bottle:

No matter what a drinking bottle that will keep your drinks cold or hot will never go out of style. I like the S’well rose gold bottle from the metallic collection. This bottle will keep your morning cup of tea hot for hours. I’m sure your PI would like this gift. If you want you can pair this gift with a set of gourmet tea or coffee.

5. Pi Tie Bar: 

If you know a guy that is crazy about numbers give him this stylish Pi Tie bar to enhance his style. I know a few math geeks and engineers that would appreciate this gift. Plus it’s a nice statement piece that I know he would like because it’s very unique. If you want to go the extra mile pair this gift with a stylish tie. Continue reading 10 Gift Ideas for Scientists II: