Sunday, February 14, 2010

African-American scientists and inventors

In honor of Black History month, below is a list of African-American scientists and inventors.  As I viewed web pages of the links below, I learned a lot and I am sure you will too! Enjoy!

Patricia Bath  Apparatus to Remove Cataracts
Bessie Blount  Self-Feeding Device for Amputees
Otis F. Boykin  Electrical Resistor and Variable Resistor
George Carruthers  Far-ultraviolet camera/spectrograph
George Washington Carver  Agricultural Innovations
David Crosthwait  Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation
George Crum  Potato Chip
Mark Edward Dean (and Dennis Moeller)  Industry Standard Architecture Bus
Ronald Demon  Smart Shoe
Charles Richard Drew  Blood Bank
Meredith C. Gourdine  Electrogasdynamics Systems
Joanna Hardin  CompUrest
W. Lincoln Hawkins  Chemical Additive for Telecommunications Cables
Lonnie Johnson  Super Soaker
Howard Jones  Conformal Antenna Systems
Percy Lavon Julian  Synthesis of Cortisone
Lewis H. Latimer  Carbon-filament Light Bulb
Jan Matzeliger  Shoe Lasting Machine
Elijah McCoy  Automatic Oil Cup
James McLurkin  Robot Ants
Garrett A. Morgan  Safety Hood
Lyda Newman  Synthetic-Bristled Hairbrush
Jessie T. Pope  Thermostatically Controlled Curling Iron
Norbert Rillieux  Sugar Processing Evaporator
Valerie Thomas   Illusion Transmitter
Madam C.J. Walker  Hair Care Products
Hildreth "Hal" Walker  Laser Telemetry and Targeting Systems
Cardinal Warde  Optical Information Processing Technology
Dennis W. Weatherby  Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
Rufus J. Weaver  Stair-Climbing Wheelchair
James Edward West (and Gerhard M. Sessler)  Foil Electret Microphone
Eli Whitney  Cotton Gin
Granville T. Woods  Multiplex Telegraph
Ivan Yaeger  Prosthetic Arm 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Importance of Role Models And Mentors

The article, Reaching Gender Equity in Science: The Importance of Role Models And Mentors - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers, by Laura Bonetta is a great read. Excerpt from the article:

"The number of women embarking on science careers has been increasing steadily during the past several decades. Although women scientists continue to be underrepresented at the faculty level, many women have established rewarding and successful careers in science—thanks in part to having had role models and mentors whose paths they could follow."
Reaching Gender Equity in Science also reminds me of a post I made entitled, "Build your team: How to get mentors" it which I also urged readers to assemble a team of mentors and advisors to help you advance your career in the sciences.
Read the full article.

Singing the lab blues


I am having some difficulties with my project. I am in some kind of slump in which none of my experiments are working. I mean the simple PCR reaction is not working.  The cells are not proliferating fast enough. And on top of everything, I placed an order with the person in the lab who is responsible for ordering reagents and due to no fault of his own, the order did not go through. It turns out there was some kind of computer glitch that day and the email to place the order never was received by the company, but I found this out like two weeks after I requested the reagent to be ordered.  (And I thought that I gave myself enough cushion room for this by placing the order before I ran out of the supply I had in the lab.)  So, that experiment is on hold for at least a month because the reagent is made-to-order.  To top everything off, I am not getting any attention from my PI because I do not have any NEW data. Sigh. I need some encouraging words because right now, it is all bad.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday???, Part II

In an earlier post, I described how my Friday would be hectic, to say the least. I also said that I would let you know how my Friday turned out. Well, yes, it was a whirlwind day. The lab meeting w e n t.  I did not make it to my networking event as an unexpected visitor came to our lab. But this was okay because he was an old lab-mate who stopped by to say hello and have lunch with us. Once this was over, I should have turned my focus to my presentation, B U T no... I was fussing over some old data.  Finally at about 1:30pm, I turned my attention to my presentation (which I presented once before) and began rehearsing it to myself.

3PM: SHOWTIME! As I began to speak, I felt my heart race, as it does whenever I give a talk. I mean, I know my research and what I want to say, but it's just a will of nerves hence, rapid heartbeat. (I think the nerves come in because I am wondering what the audience is thinking of me. Am I good enough? How is my data? Is my hair sticking up? Am I slouching? Am I speaking loud enough? Do they care about what I am saying? OMG is that person SLEEP?!) Then there were some technical difficulties which garnered a few laughs from the audience which was nearly half-dead from the intense interviews with professors earlier in the day. But their laughter eased my nerves.
Mid-way through the talk, I glanced at the clock and realized that I had only 2min left, since I was trying to speak slowly (I have been told that I talk too fast), so I rushed the last half.  When it was over, I knew that some of the students were actually paying attention because 3 asked me questions.

SELF ASSESSMENT I have critiques of my presentation: 1) I stumbled with words here and there. It's like I am trying to say one thing and already thinking about the next thing I want to say and what comes out my mouth is a jumbled mess of the first and second thoughts. Speaking slower will correct this issue. 2) I notice that I have the tendency to "talk to myself" while presenting. For example, I think there was a point that I said out loud, "oh no that is not right..." in reference to the order I wanted to say something. And I was on a microphone, sigh.  Although I know this presentation was not perfect, I can feel myself growing and becoming better. I am aware of some of my flaws and approach others to learn of other flaws so that I can work on correcting them.  I have another event at the end of the month. Between now and then, all I can do is practice, practice and practice so more.
Oh yes, I only managed to get a minimal amount of lab work done on Friday. So, now I am rushing my daughter to "get it together" and get dressed so that we can spend a Saturday in the lab. I know she is not happy with me about this. But it's the way it is. Maybe we will go for ice cream later. Geez, I feel like I am bribing the girl, sigh.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

History makers in the making: 10 African-Americans contribute to science

It's Black History month and I wanted to highlight the contributions of African-Americans to science. While searching for information to share with you, I found this website, TheGrio.com, which is an excellent resource for learning about and catching up on the latest African-American-centered news. In honor of Black History month, TheGrio.com features 100 African-Americans who are History Makers in the Making. Of these 100, 10 are making extraordinary contributions to science, including Charles Bolden, Robert Bullard, Dr. Agnes A. Day, Tony Hansberry, Lisa Jackson, Shelton Johnson, James McLurkin, Derrick Pitts, PhD., Jerome Ringo, and Beverly Wright.                                     Video featuring Tony Hansberry 
Because of my interest to get more young minorities involved in science, I was excited to learn about 15-year-old Tony Hansberry who "developed a project that showed how to reduce surgical time for hysterectomies, and has "people in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida are calling him the 'next Charles Drew'." Full article.

More about TheGrio: TheGrio.com is the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories and perspectives that appeal to them but are underrepresented in existing national news outlets. TheGrio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles, and blogs on topics from breaking news, politics, health, business, and entertainment, which concern its niche audience.  

Thank Goodness It's Friday???

Ah, tomorrow is Friday. I should be excited that it is the last day of the week and the weekend is almost here. Uh, no.  My Friday is crammed. I have to give the lab meeting tomorrow at 9am. (And yes, after making some easy-to-fix cloning mistakes, I did get the data I mentioned in an earlier post.) I committed to attending a networking event at noon. I jumped at the opportunity to give a short talk about my research to recruits for my graduate program at 3pm.  I will play school bus and shuttle my daughter from her elementary school to her ballet school before 4pm and then pick her up by 5:30pm. Somewhere in all this chaos, I will get a few experiments done. Oh yeah, I will eat at some point. This is my life, my life as a single parent pursuing a PhD. No complaints, just feeling a wee bit stressed. And oh yeah, tomorrow night will be a Papa John's night! I will let you know how things go.

Welcome to Minority Scientist

I'm Minority Scientist and I started this blog to
1) share useful information to assist minorities, including women and underrepresented peoples, navigate a career in scientific research and
2) explore the world of science through the eyes of someone who
pursued a PhD in the biomedical sciences as a single parent.

In the spirit of sharing, if you find info here useful for you or someone you know... pass it on! If you would like to share information, send an email to
Minority.Scientist(at) gmail.com. Thanks!

Job Postings