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.

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

Resources for Scientists: Online Learning Using Edx.org

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are online courses that make learning about different subjects accessible to all. With the internet at your fingertips you can learn a new topic/skill that will help elevate your STEM career. After taking several Coursera.org courses I decided to explore other MOOC sites and I came across Edx.org.

edx.jpg

Image Credit: 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

Mademoiselle Spotlight Feature: The Thesis Whisperer/Dr. Inger Mewburn

As a graduate student, I unofficially started generating ideas and topics for Mademoiselle Scientist and discovered my first higher education blog, The Thesis Whisperer.

Dr Inger Mewburn The Thesis Whisperer

Photo Credit: TheThesisWhisperer 

Mademoiselle Spotlight: The Thesis Whisperer/Dr. Inger Mewburn:

Before officially starting Mademoiselle Scientist I reached out to The Thesis Whisperer. She gave me some great feedback and tips to get started. The advice I remember the most is to just start. There are not many blogs and platforms in the early academic, science, women in STEM, student and early research career category so there is a huge need. Currently, I’m two years in. I have a lot to learn and many things to share on my STEM journey.

Looking back I’m glad I took The Thesis Whisperer’s advice and recommend it to everyone. It is a gem of resources for graduate students and professionals. I can’t believe I didn’t know about The Thesis Whisperer earlier in my academic career. It would have been handy. On the bright side, I’m glad I found it.

What is The Thesis Whisperer? Continue reading Mademoiselle Spotlight Feature: The Thesis Whisperer/Dr. Inger Mewburn

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

Recently, 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. 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 will have an idea about what major or career you want, but things can change. After taking a few courses it is okay 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 STEM 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 eventually:

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 throughout 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:

Don’t let other people’s 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.

My Top Study Tips

Between preparing for exams, applications and attending conferences this is the time that most people have a booked up calendar. For my students reading I know that midterms are coming up so this post is for you. With the right preparation studying can be a less stressful time. When I was in college we had Study-A-Thons during the weekend before finals week. We had peer tutors, free food and even study snacks. If you don’t have this gather a group of your friends and start your own Study-A-Thon.  

My Top Study Tips: Continue reading My Top Study Tips

Fall Reading List

Looking to make some changes? This is the reading list for you. Check out below:

My Fall Reading List: Continue reading Fall Reading List

The Power Hour

The life of a scientist is pretty busy. Between labs, meetings, conferences, association involvement and personal duties your calendar can look like a game of Tetris. Work is important. Life is important. Finding the balance is key. Many of us understand the struggle and this is where the Power Hour comes in. This is your chance for you to focus your energy to do something exciting or give yourself a break.

Here are some ways to use your power hour:

  1. Use the Pomodoro timer for your break:  The Pomodoro is a time-management method created by Francesco Cirillo that is designed to help you stay focused while working on a specific task. My favorite way is through My Tomatoes. It’s free to use and it’s only 25 minutes. This short time will get you recharged in no time.
  2. Get active: Getting active is not only good for your physical health, it’s good for your mental health. Not everyone has a standing or bike desk so it is important to get moving. If you find yourself sitting for hours at a time get up and take a 5-10 minute walk, do a quick office yoga routine and make it a priority to get outside daily.
  3. Take a power nap: Most of the time when we can’t concentrate we are tired. In a study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology naps help improve cogitative function when used correctly. Naps do not replace sleep, but they can help you recharge which will increase your productivity.
  4. Do a quick hobby: Take time to do something creative that will get your mind off of your project. Simply journaling, reading or drawing can be quite relaxing.
  5. Drink or eat: Use this time to fuel your body. Many times when we are tired we are dehydrated and hungry. Ditch the vending machine snack (if you can), refill your water bottle and eat some fruit.

After doing one of more of these tasks you should be refreshed and ready to tackle your next task.

How will you use your power hour? Comment below.