Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlight: Happy Birthday Dr. Mae Jemison!

Happy Birthday Dr. Mae Jemison!

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Photo Credit: NASA

Happy Birthday Dr. Jemison – truly inspirational and phenomenal scientist!

Dr. Mae Jemison is an astronaut, chemical engineer, physician, entrepreneur, academic and someone who I always admired growing up. Dr. Jemison was born on October 17, 1956 in Decatur, Alabama. After graduating at the age of 16 from Morgan Park High School in 1973 she earned a B.S. chemical engineering and a B.A. in African-American studies from Stanford University. After graduating she entered Cornell University Medical College. In 1981 she graduated and began working as a general practitioner and served in the Peace Corps. Later she decided to switch careers to become an astronaut.

On June 4, 1987, she became the 1st African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. Five years later on September 12, 1992, she flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47. In March of 1993 she left NASA, accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth College and founded the Jemison Group.

Here are just a few of the many accomplishments of Dr. Jemison. If you want to learn more about Dr. Jemison check out the links below.  (more…)

A Little Bit about the Scientist…

My name is Martina. I am a Toxicologist, Science Communicator and STEM Education Advocate who supports the next generation of scientists. I have worked with various professional scientific societies and organizations who are committed to broadening participation in STEM careers. My experiences as a researcher, science communicator, and doing education advocate has inspired me to create a career that intersects STEM, communication and STEM education.

Martina Efeyini Toxicologist Science Communicator STEM Advocate

One of the most common questions I get asked is: What is toxicology?  Usually this question is followed by: What can you do with that? Most people assume that toxicologists only work on autopsies and do CSI type work.

Yes, forensic toxicologists can do this type of work, but there are other options out there. Just like many STEM fields, toxicology is interdisciplinary and allows you to solve problems. Even though my career choices are not limited, I realized that there was a limited number of underrepresented groups in toxicology. As a Black woman in STEM representation is important to me.

My journey is not linear and it had bumps along the road, like most scientists. These bumps taught me to:

  • Break out of silos
  • Embrace all of my identities
  • Explore what STEM has to offer
  • Be open
  • Be authentic
  • My journey is mine
  • Rejection, failure and mistakes are all part of the learning process

In addition, STEM has given me the opportunity to wear many hats, including, but not limited to: researcher, science communicator, science writer, director, coordinator, STEM educator and my list keeps growing. A STEM career opens doors for innovation, solutions to problems and brings issues that need to change to action. To me it is at the intersection of STEM with other disciplines that big things happen.

What did your bumps teach you? Share below.

Welcome to Mademoiselle Scientist!

Mademoiselle Scientist is a digital platform that supports the next generation of scientists. Everyone has their own introduction to STEM, here is mine. I remember at an early age being excited about all things science. I enjoyed learning more about science every day. On the weekends I was often at my grandparents’ backyard chasing fireflies and reading the encyclopedia to learn more about the world around me. During the week I would tune into The Magic School Bus or Bill Nye the Science Guy and imagine how it would be to become a real scientist. The opportunity to make a change in the world, contribute to science and society further ignited my passion.

Unlike my peers I was always reading, exploring science and looking for ways to learn more about science which classified me as a nerd. Luckily my aunt who is an electrical engineer was there as my first role model; hearing her talk about her experience in STEM made me realize I could do the same. It was hard seeing fewer girls in my class who were not interested in science. I accepted it and as time passed I wondered why was this the case?

Fast forward years later, I realized that if I want to see this change I should do something. I read the American Association of University Women (AAUW)’s , Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics? Report and it opened my eyes to issues of why the number of women in STEM so low. 

My questions:

  • What can I do to change this?
  • What resources are out there?

Two of my earlier resources outside of the AAUW Report were The Thesis Whisperer and This Week in Virology, a research education and a virology blog, respectively. Theses blogs helped me discover my unique niche. A few days my I sister and I brainstormed some names and Mademoiselle Scientists was born. (more…)