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 STEM 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. STEM 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

Being a #BLACKandSTEM Woman Twitter Chat Reflection

Every Thursday #BLACKandSTEM has Twitter chats on various topics. On Thursday, October 30, I participated in their discussion about being a Black Woman in STEM. In case you missed the Twitter chat click here to find out more information.

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

Professional Role Models in STEM

One of the reasons I started Mademoiselle Scientist is to support the next generation of scientists. Before I started Mademoiselle Scientist The Thesis Whisperer was the first educational blog I came across. Dr. Inger Mewburn inspired me to start blogging. After that I found more women in STEM bloggers who have inspired me: Science Mentor#BLACKandSTEM, and Ellekement to name a few. As I move forward with Mademoiselle Scientist I want to this space to be resource, inspiring and a supportive community.   Continue reading Professional Role Models in STEM

Mademoiselle Scientist September Birthday Spotlight: Irène Joliot-Curie

September is my favorite month – I have many things to celebrate. In my last post I talked about how September 2nd marked my 1st Blogiversary for Mademoiselle Scientist. Next week I am starting a new series, Spotlight on Science. Since Irène Joliot-Curie and I share the same birthday (September 12) it makes sense to pick her as my Mademoiselle Scientist September Birthday Spotlight. If you want to check out my other Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlights check out my blog posts about: Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb and Dr. Mae Jemison. These are all amazing Mademoiselle Scientists.

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Photo Source:

Irène Joliot-Curie was born on September 12, 1897 in Paris, France. She was the daughter of Marie and Pierre, two physicists that shared half of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 with Antoine Henri Becquerel. Following her parents footsteps she also excelled at science and mathematics. She even worked with her mother, Marie Curie at the Radium Institute in Paris. Like her mother, she was committed to science, excellence, research, and discovery.

Irène continued to excel and studied at the Radium Institute in Paris where her doctoral thesis focused on alpha rays of polonium. In 1925 after years of research she received her Doctorate of Science. While she was working at the Radium Institute she met a physicist named, Frédéric Joliot and a year later they were married. A few years later she was appointed as lecturer in 1932, and in 1935 their research paid off. They won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements. After winning the Nobel Prize in 1937 Irène became a professor and later Director of the Radium Institute in 1946. To learn more about their Nobel Prize Award and others check out NobelPrize.org.

Their discovery led to further studies and tools to help with cancer treatment. After many years working with very hazardous materials Irène was diagnosed with leukemia due to exposure of polonium. Later her health began to decline and she died on March 17, 1956 of leukemia at the age of 58 after a lifetime of exposure to radiation.

Continue reading Mademoiselle Scientist September Birthday Spotlight: Irène Joliot-Curie

Empowering Women in STEM

Earlier this year I shared a post about my reflections as Black Woman in STEM #AAWiSTEM. I know that there many women in STEM that read Mademoiselle Scientist who can relate to some of the things I mentioned in that post. Let’s go a bit deeper.

Empowering Women in STEM: Continue reading Empowering Women in STEM

Like A Girl by Always Woman in STEM Reflection

Recently I came across the Always #LikeAGirl campaign and it made me reflect on being a woman in STEM.

Always #LikeAGirl Video Woman in STEM Reflection: Continue reading Like A Girl by Always Woman in STEM Reflection

Women’s History Month Edition of Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlight: Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

In honor of Women History Month let’s celebrate Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

Photo Credit: TheGuardian.com

Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is a virologist, professor, and Director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit, Virology Department at Institut Pasteur in Paris, France. Dr. Barré-Sinoussi was born on July 30, 1947 in Paris, France. She was the only child and had a passion for science at an early age. When she entered undergraduate she decided to pursue a natural science degree because she wanted to make discoveries.

Shortly after she began to work in the laboratory with Jean-Claude Chermann at the Pasteur Institute studying retroviruses and cancer in mice and completed her Ph.D. there. In 1975 she was offered a fully funded research position supervised by Montagnier. Since I am interested vaccine and infectious disease research I wanted to showcase Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi’s cutting-edge contributions to science in the field of disease transmission, immunity, and virology.

In 2008 two of the greatest discoveries were honored. 2008 was the year the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was shared with three scientists. Harald zur Hausen has 1/2 of the Prize share “for his discovery of human papilloma virus causing cervical cancer”, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi has 1/4 of the Prize share and Luc Montagnier has 1/4 of the Prize share “for their discovery of human immunodeficiency5 virus”. As stated on Nobelprize.org website,”It was identified in lymphocytes from patients with enlarged lymph nodes in early stages of acquired immunodeficiency, and in the blood from patients with late stage disease” To learn more about the discovery check out the nobelprize.org.

Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi represents one of the 44 total women that have been awarded the Nobel Prize (1901-2013) and one of the 16 total women that have been awarded the Nobel Prize in the Sciences. She believes that receiving the Nobel Prize is also a prize for everyone in the community. Continue reading Women’s History Month Edition of Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlight: Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

Black History Month Edition of Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlight: Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb

In honor of Black History Month let’s celebrate Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb.

Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb

Photo Credit: California State University State Library

Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb is a cell biologist/cell physiologist, educator, professor, administrator, and former president of California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Cobb was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 17, 1924 from a middle class surrounded by medical journals and science books at her home library. Her father was a physician, her grandfather was a pharmacist and she became the third generation in her family to pursue a science field. After completing high school she graduated from Talladega College in Alabama in 1944 with a B.S. degree in Biology. Then, she attended graduate school at New York University where she earned a M.S. degree in Cell Physiology in 1947 and a PhD in Cell Physiology in 1950.

Ever since she first looked at cells through a microscope in her high school biology class she knew that she wanted to pursue a research career. She wanted to understand the theory of diseases and as a scientist she would have this opportunity. Dr. Cobb’s research focused on the skin pigment melanin and relation to skin tumors. She tested chemotherapeutic drugs in cancer cells, specializing in cell biology.

In addition to her research she has held several academic positions: Professor at Sarah Lawrence College (1960-1969), Dean and Professor of Zoology at Connecticut College (1969-1976), Director of ACCESS Center at California State University, Los Angeles and President of California State University, Fullerton (1981-1990). She retired in 1990.  Continue reading Black History Month Edition of Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlight: Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb

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.  Continue reading Mademoiselle Scientist Spotlight: Happy Birthday Dr. Mae Jemison!