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

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

Being a #BLACKandSTEM Woman Twitter Chat Reflection

Remember when I said I was going to start getting involved in more twitter chats? So far I have been following #TWiV, #TWiGH, #ECRchat #PhDChat and #BLACKandSTEM chat. If you have any twitter chats I should check out let me know in the comment section.

On Thursday, October 30, I participated in a #BLACKandSTEM twitter chat hosted by @BLACKandSTEM. Every Thursday #BLACKandSTEM has twitter chats on various topics. Last Thursday’s topic was about being #BLACKandSTEM and a woman. When I heard about this topic I knew that I had to check it out.

Just in case you missed the #BLACKandSTEM chat click here to find out more information.

Let’s get started with my reflection: Continue reading Being a #BLACKandSTEM Woman Twitter Chat Reflection

Mademoiselle Scientist Turns 1 Year Old: My 1st Blogiversary

1st Blogiversary MSToday Mademoiselle Scientist turns 1 Year Old. It’s my blogiversary! I cannot believe that a year ago today I published my first blog post. I started Mademoiselle Scientist as a way to help the next generation of scientists and to share my journey as a woman in STEM. When I started blogging I did not know where it would take me. Now, that I have blogged for a year I have learned many things and am ready to take this year by storm! I have many things coming up this month so stay tuned.

This month I am introducing a series called Spotlight on Science. It will highlight different science resources and information that is helpful to other scientists. If you want to check out my other series check out my Mademoiselle Scientist Birthdays or Recent Graduate Series. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Thank you for subscribing to Mademoiselle Scientist. I appreciate you and every comment I receive. I enjoy being a member of the science blogging community. I followed Ph.D. Comics for years and it made me laugh while I was in my Masters Program. A few years later I discovered The Thesis Whisperer and I emailed her about starting a science blog and she gave me great feedback. She was so helpful and I look forward to her blog posts. This blog is a chance for me to share the things that I have learned through my journey as a woman in STEM. Thank you for coming along with me!

What type of posts are you looking forward to seeing? Comment below.

Thank you for your continued support!

 

Black History Month Edition of Mademoiselle Scientist: My Reflections as Black Woman in STEM

About a month ago I participated in a twitter chat #AAWiSTEM about empowering African-American Women in STEM with The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). After this conversation it made me think about last summer when I read the American Association of University Women (AAUW) “Why so Few?“. If you have not read it please check it out.

As a black woman in STEM sometimes I feel like I am a member of a small group. When I feel like this I remember that there are so many resources and other women in STEM out there like me. If you cannot find them look in your community, schools, at work and I know that you will find someone who can lend a helping hand. You may even find a mentor. In regards to the question, “Why so Few?”, I believe we cannot answer this question until things change. If we provide mentoring and resources for minorities and women in STEM, then we can increase STEM Diversity.

In honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month (which is in March) I decided to share my reflections as a black woman in STEM.  In my previous post, I talked about Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb who is an African-American research scientist (Cell Biologist/ Cell Physiologist) that made a great contribution to cancer research. At the time she entered graduate school there were few black women in STEM. Today we are still battling with why there are few minority women in STEM. How can we increase these numbers? How can we increase the amount of minority women in STEM that pursue higher education?  Continue reading Black History Month Edition of Mademoiselle Scientist: My Reflections as Black Woman in STEM

5 Tips for Women in STEM

Here are my 5 tips that I have learned along the way as a woman in STEM:

1. Find a mentor:

Mentors are great! They provide guidance, advice and support throughout your STEM career. If you are looking for a mentor tap into your in your existing network, explore LinkedIn and join the #sciencetwitter community. If you are interested in virtual mentoring join the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). Finding the right mentor takes time and I encourage you to find multiple mentors for the different areas of your career.

2. Join a network for women in STEM:

One of the great benefits of being a woman in STEM are resources that are available. There are many organizations for women such as AWIS, SWE or AAUW. When you surround yourself with other women in STEM you will learn the tools of the trade. When you attend conferences you will learn more about your field, talk about your research and network with other women in STEM. It’s a win-win-win! If you don’t have a mentor yet a conference is a place to find potential mentors.  Continue reading 5 Tips for Women in STEM