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Journey of a Late Bloomer: Passionate for STEAM Education and Careers and Mentorship – PART ONE

In the latest STEAMSparks - Think STEAM Career Podcast episode, I enjoyed speaking with the phenomenal Dr. Gladys Delancey-Bolden. As an expert in molecular cells and physiology, Dr. Delancey-Bolden has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the STEM field. This episode explores her inspiring journey, her mission to empower underrepresented students in STEM, and her thoughts on the importance of mentorship and representation.

Dr. Delancey-Bolden's story is a testament to the transformative power of education and mentorship. Starting as an educator, she saw firsthand the challenges faced by students of color in STEM fields. This experience inspired her to establish the Biolog Laboratorium. This program has made a significant impact in introducing STEM concepts to young children and building confidence in students of color. By starting as young as five, Dr. Delancey-Bolden aims to provide a robust foundation for these students, ensuring they are well-prepared for future STEM careers.

One of the key themes of this episode is the importance of representation in STEM. Dr. Delancey-Bolden shares her admiration for astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and discusses how seeing someone who looks like you in a prominent scientific role can be incredibly inspiring. Representation matters because it helps students visualize themselves in these roles, making the goal of a STEM career seem more attainable and highlighting the need for diversity in the field.

The episode also touches on the critical role of peer review in scientific research. Dr. Delancey-Bolden emphasizes that peer review is one of the cornerstones of science, establishing credibility and ensuring that research is valid and reliable. We recount a recent interaction between Neil deGrasse Tyson and actor Terrence Howard, where Tyson highlighted the importance of peer review. This segment serves as a reminder that rigorous scientific standards are essential for progress.

Dr. Delancey-Bolden also shares her journey of discovering a passion for science. Interestingly, she describes herself as a "late bloomer," having returned to school after marriage and parenthood. It was during her pursuit of a master's degree that she developed a ravenous appetite for learning more about science. This episode segment underscores the idea that there is always time to find your passion and make a significant impact.

In addition to her educational efforts, Dr. Delancey-Bolden is involved in various philanthropic endeavors to empower the next generation of scientists. She shares her proven strategies for helping students excel in exams, particularly standardized tests like the GRE. Her tips include time management, leveraging free resources like Khan Academy, and using traditional study methods like index cards. With the advancements in AI, personalized learning has become more accessible, making it easier for students to prepare for these exams.

Closing the gender gap in STEM is another crucial topic discussed in this episode. Dr. Delancey-Bolden notes the significant strides made in biological sciences, where there are various career pathways and relatable subject matter. However, she also highlights areas where more effort is needed, such as aerospace, computer science, and civil engineering. Exposure to these fields at a young age and having strong role models and mentors can make a significant difference.

The conversation then shifts to the role of parents and educators in encouraging students to pursue STEM careers. Dr. Delancey-Bolden emphasizes the importance of supportive environments at home and in school. Teachers and counselors are crucial in promoting STEM programs and ensuring students can access these opportunities. This discussion will empower you to actively foster a love for STEM among young students, empowering you to mentor them for the future workforce that requires STEM skills.

In part one of this compelling episode, we examined the challenges, parental involvement, leveraging resources, career pathways, relatable subject matter, and triumphs in STEM education. Dr. Gladys Delancey-Bolden's dedication to empowering underrepresented students and her efforts to close the gender gap in STEM is truly inspiring. This is why I want to talk with her. Her story serves as a reminder that anyone can achieve their dreams in STEM with the proper support and opportunities.

If you're interested in learning more about Dr. Delancey-Bolden's journey, her strategies for exam success, or the importance of mentorship and representation in STEM, be sure to listen to this and PART TWO of this episode on the Think STEAM Career Podcast. It's a must-listen for anyone passionate about making a difference in STEM and inspiring the next generation.



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