#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

My 2nd Blogiversary: My STEM Journey – To be Continued…

Since today is my 2nd Blogiversary I decided it was a perfect time to reflect on my journey as a woman in science and two years as a science blogger.

I always knew I wanted to become a scientist. I always knew I wanted to become a researcher. But the one thing I questioned was; how would I get there? I know we all have been there at one point of our STEM career.

There are many girls and young women that have this same question but some will never become scientists. Why? Because we didn’t give them the resources they needed to pursue their STEM degree and mentor them. If we don’t mentor them who will?

Mentoring is important at all levels. Mentors are people who went through the ups and downs of a STEM career and made it. It’s not impossible without mentors but mentors can make a huge difference. There is a lot I can say about mentors and I will talk about that in a future post and I’m looking forward to sharing my mentoring series with you soon.

My mentors from an early age and the drive I had inside pushed me to become a scientist, researcher, STEM advocate and science writer/blogger. Through all the ups and downs I still wanted to pursue a STEM career. Why? Because I cannot imagine myself in another career.

Further into my STEM journey I discovered my passion for STEM goes beyond research and writing. My passion extends to being an advocate for underrepresented groups, especially minorities and women in STEM. I want to share resources to help the next generations of scientists. As a science communicator I have a platform that will grow and I’m excited to see what’s next for Mademoiselle Scientist! What do you want to see?

Moving forward I want to continue to share resources that will help fellow Mademoiselle Scientists and the next generations of scientists. I will share my journey and help you with your journey.

Continue reading My 2nd Blogiversary: My STEM Journey – To be Continued…

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 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 many 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

What Does a Scientist Look Like?/Too Pretty to be a Scientist

A few months ago Science Mentor told me about a new science blogger, La Cientifica. So I went on over to her blog and came across her post, Please Refrain. In this post she shares some of the crazy comments she gets as a woman in science. Here are some of the comments that stood out to me the most:

  • Come on angels.
  • Women live longer than men because they don’t work as hard.
  • The only intelligent woman I know is my wife.
  • You don’t dress like a scientist.
  • Do you plan on having a baby anytime soon?

I can say that I have heard these before. Have you? These comments are inappropriate and disrespectful! I remember reading a few articles about this topic and the Women in Astronomy (Is Science in the Eye of the Beholder?) blog post.

When did society make it okay for people to make rude comments to women in STEM? This is unacceptable and has to stop! As a Mademoiselle Scientist I should only be judged by the work that I do, not what I look like. Since I look young and dress stylishly I often get the comments like: “you look so young”, or “real scientists don’t care about how they look, this is not a fashion show” and sometimes I don’t get taken seriously. It’s a shame that things are this way. The last time I checked there is nothing wrong with being feminine or taking pride in my appearance.

Have you ever heard, “you don’t look like a scientist”? Or how about, “You are too pretty to be a scientist”?It’s time that we take a stand and make a change. We have to let our voices be heard.  Continue reading What Does a Scientist Look Like?/Too Pretty to be a Scientist

Lessons to my Younger Self: STEM Edition

Happy New Year! This time last year I talked about taking action. After participating in #BLACKandSTEM major tweets roll call last week I was inspired to share my top lessons to my younger self.

Lesson to my Younger Self (STEM Edition): Continue reading Lessons to my Younger Self: STEM Edition