“Listen to Yourself,” The Rest Will Follow: Meet Dr. Scyatta Wallace

Dr. Scyatta Wallace is the founder of the Janisaw Company and a trailblazer in the field of psychology. She has been featured in several notable media outlets, including CNN, Time, and Essence magazines. She has also received many accolades, including an award from the Women’s Division of the American Psychological Association. 

In our interview, Dr. Wallace gave us a look at what helps her achieve so much as she continues to strive while inspiring others. As a first-generation American with Liberian roots, Dr. Wallace faced many of the same challenges that Black and Brown women continue to encounter today.

However, her parents were so devoted to her and her brother’s success that they encouraged them to explore their curiosities early on. Dr. Wallace’s mother and father eagerly supported her early interest in science, giving her the freedom to dive into the multifaceted world of STEM to find her true passion. 

Dr. Wallace spent a lot of time shadowing teachers' assistants, professors, and colleagues in various labs across disciplines to get a taste of what the sciences had to offer. Her parents were supportive every step of the way. Eventually, she found solace in psychology. 

Since earning her Ph.D., Dr. Wallace has taken the psychology field by storm. Highlighting the importance of diversity, she shared how her unique upbringing as a first-generation woman influenced her experience and colleagues. 

Dr. Wallace’s upbringing as the daughter of immigrants has added a new perspective to the discourse and research she’s contributed to. Her own experience highlights the value of diversity in STEM and in all fields, giving us a chance to consider deeper and different questions that often dig up the need for change. 

Dr. Wallace was also a professor at St. John’s University where she bore witness to the importance of prioritizing our dreams over the goals and wishes of others, even our loved ones. She mentioned that there was a striking difference between the students who were following their hearts or following the wishes of others. In her case, Dr. Wallace’s parents’ loving support allowed her to blossom into her strengths, passions, and pursuits. She shared,  “If you’re doing things that are aligned with you, it’s easier to get through life and its challenges than when you’re pushing against yourself (doing something you don’t feel passionate about).”

One of Dr. Wallace’s most notable studies examined how various gender and race-based stereotypes, social pressures, and behaviors can negatively impact young Black girls’ self-esteem. The study, called “Gold Diggers, Video Vixens, and Jezebels: Stereotype Images and Substance Use Among Urban African American Girls,” brings awareness to social issues surrounding emotional wellness and potential health risks facing teenage Black girls. This study and others that Dr. Wallace and her colleagues have conducted continue to open doors for important conversations and lasting solutions for women and girls who are often overlooked. 

The study highlighted that one of the greatest remedies to harmful social pressures for Black youth lies in racial socialization. This form of race-based socialization is defined by the positive and lasting impact culturally empowering practices and experiences have on families and communities. One example includes educating our youth about accurate and inspiring culturally relevant people and events. Another small study cited in Dr. Wallace’s research revealed that Black youth who received messages and examples of Black pride and strength exhibited greater resiliency to harmful social pressures. By taking our identities into our own hands, it is easier to navigate the expectations and representations presented by the world as we become living examples of our innate excellence. 

As Dr. Wallace moves forward in her career, she continues to work with STEM students and professionals. As founder of the Janisaw Company, Dr. Wallace works directly with fellow founders and budding scientists alike,  particularly women and girls. She has also recently published a Success in Stem journal, a 52-week STEM journal to help young scientists stay organized and empowered. 

Amidst such mindful and consistent work, Dr. Wallace also shared how she has been finding ways to incorporate more rest into her routine rather than reaching burnout before considering true rest.

In a world where racism, sexism, and other detrimental social prejudices pollute our perspectives, it can be hard to make time to settle down. Many of the same harmful stereotypes and social pressures that Dr. Wallace explored in her study continue to affect Black women’s mental, physical, and financial wellness as we enter adulthood, even when we’ve already achieved greatness. Even when our loved ones are supportive and love us unconditionally. Even when we’ve achieved the American dream, it is up to us to make time for ourselves to embrace and enjoy our lives. This is much different from laziness, weakness, or anything else we may mislabel our need for rest and joy. 

Dr. Wallace continues to impact many lives while making the time to enjoy her own with her loving family and her teeming field of blossoming scientists. We look forward to seeing more of her groundbreaking work! 

 

Understanding the Drastic Socioeconomic Differences Between Yesterday and Today

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Have you ever had one of those intergenerational conversations about certain social milestones that we should be achieving by some arbitrary age? You know, those, “When are you having kids, getting married, buying a house, getting that degree, etc.?” Let’s look at why our lives may be on a different trajectory for generations to come.

Our world is much different from our parents and, quite frankly, any generation before us. Experiencing multiple global economic, social, health, and environmental challenges and advancements, the current generation of adults is trying to maintain a sense of normalcy during one of the most pivotal moments in human history. 

Aside from managing daily life in a rapidly changing society, the current generation is navigating the challenges of the ever-rising cost of living. Although the costs have begun to balance out, housing remains the biggest challenge for most young adults today. When we look at the prices of food, gas, education, and clothing, among other hallmarks of daily life, previous generations’ dollars were way more valuable than they are now. So where does that leave us who are climbing socioeconomic ladders today?

Consider how the buying power of $50 has changed over the past four generations. (You can also compare some price changes with this calculator.

YearPrice2024 Price EquivalentRate of Inflation 
1930$50$929.121758.2%
1960$50$524.20948.4%
1990$50$118.72137.4%

 

The above chart demonstrates that the average person’s buying power has plummeted astronomically since the 1930s. Considering that most generations embark on their journeys toward financial success in their younger adult years, the younger generations may be in for a longer haul toward achieving financial stability unless we take creative measures.

Studies show that wealth and wages have increased for upper-class families while the middle class grows further from these same levels of stability with stagnant wages and rising costs. Even during times like the 80s and 90s when growth was seen across all classes, the upper class saw more than 40% a greater increase than their middle and lower class counterparts. 

As the cost of basic necessities rises, wages fail to provide the average American with a liveable and sustainable income. One study shows that the once attainable ideals of living the American Dream (having a house, nutritious food, a pet, a family, a car or two, no debt, etc.) typically are valued at over $3 million, leaving most of us with quite a long way to go to achieve such a feat. Not to mention navigating the changing climate patterns, sociopolitical unrest, growing and changing health concerns, and other environmental factors that alter our sense of reality, tradition, and justice right before our eyes. Understandably, there is a lot to manage in the 21st century. While we are still reeling mentally and emotionally from the last three years alone, we continue to find ways to forge forward, innovate, and generate resources and the means to obtain them. 

Wage discrepancies have even greater ramifications for specific groups of people. Though pay gaps and other financial barriers have affected previous generations of marginalized groups, they continue to dramatically affect the quality of life for them to this day. Not to mention the increased risks and costs that come with striving for better conditions, many women and people of color, in particular, bear the greatest weight of these economic challenges. 

As more research is done to understand the causes and effects of our socioeconomic burdens, there is hope as we mend the fabric of our society. With greater access to technology, there are more ways for individuals to launch multiple streams of income from the comfort of their own homes while tending to their other daily needs. Remote work and courses, social media influencing and streaming, affiliate marketing, blogging, and many other online opportunities make it possible for people to be flexible in their pursuit of happiness. With multiple sources of income comes a greater need for effective time management and general organization skills. 

Since COVID, our society has faced economic burdens that are comparable to those of the Great Depression, yet there is also evidence of a similar potential for Great Change. Shortly after the depression, there was a boom in several fields, boosting opportunities for success and growth for those who dared to take risks and stand up for freedom. 

Now more than ever, we see breakthrough collaborations, conversations, and action toward meaningful and lasting changes for all. Daily, we see the rise of more entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders who are helping us blaze the trail to a better future. With technology, communication, and art driving much of our current progress, our ability to come together despite divisive social norms will determine how bright our new day will be. 

Despite these pivotal times, resilience continues to be the cornerstone of our potential to thrive, much like previous generations, who faced unique experiences, challenges, and worries of their own. Though the road may be rocky, there is still hope as yet another generation is born out of our overcoming. 

We are rapidly being thrust into the future, leading us to a world that is truly much different than any we've ever known. As we collectively examine the ways of the world that got us to where we are as a society today, we are also brave enough to take action, being the change we’ve always dreamed of seeing. And for that, the wild and outspoken Millenllais and Gen Z’ers will become one of the most insightful and resilient generations yet. 

Meet the Team: Greg Stenson

Gregory Stenson is our amazing graphic and web designer. Based in Las Vegas, Greg shares his unique print and digital designs to appeal to our growing audience. Today, we get to learn more about Greg and his role on the Thinkubator Media team.

What’s your favorite part about working with the Thinkubator Media team?
It’s great being part of a group where everyone truly participates as a member of a team. Everyone is so knowledgeable in their relative field(s) and is easy to work with.

What are some of the values at Thinkubator Media that resonate with you?
Respect and Inclusiveness. These two values should be a given in any workplace or team. I think everyone on the Thinkubator team inherently carries these values within them.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Working out
Watching movies with my family
Walking my dog, Rigby
Working on personal design projects

Do you have any hidden talents?
No. I think all of my mediocre talents are known by most people 🤣
Seriously though– I’m not sure if I have any true talents. I just believe that discipline and repetition produce above-average results.

What is one intention that you are leading 2024 with?
Great question. My theme for 2023 was to be intentional. I was more mindful of what I did with my time and greatly reduced the amount of my time that I, or others, wasted. My major intention for 2024 is growth. I need to grow both personally and professionally. Let’s see how it pans out!

Thinkubator Media Launches New Online Comms Course

Hooray! Join us in celebrating the official launch of our Communications Foundations course! Thinkubator Media founder and CEO, Lori Lennon, has launched an exciting 101 course for communicating your company or research.

At Thinkubator Media, we understand that the world of communication can be daunting when juggling STEM work's intricacies. Our communications course offers STEM students and professionals a chance to learn the basics of building a successful communications foundations for your work. Together, we will learn the terms and lay the groundwork for creating your ideal communications strategy.

Learning how to share your work effectively helps you identify and target your ideal audience, develop a strong brand, and organize your content in realistic and captivating ways. From there, you can share your innovative research, developments, and creations to those who need to hear it.

Our communications course offers the resources and tools needed to start building your communications plan, regardless of budget.

As we dive into these six focal points throughout the course, you and your team will leave with greater confidence in your ability to produce honest and engaging content. Before you know it, you’ll have a captivating brand coming to life right before your eyes, launching you on a steady path toward marketing success.

Enroll in our Communications Foundations program to get started today!

Meet the Team: Blair Burrell

Blair Burrell is our exceptional social media manager, based in Mandeville, Louisiana. Blair helps us craft engaging and consistent content to share across our social media platforms. Let’s hear more about Blair and her role on our team.

What’s your favorite part about working with the Thinkubator Media team?
My favorite part about working with the Thinkubator Media team is the collaborative and supportive environment. Everyone is easy-going, open-minded, and dedicated to achieving our collective goals.

It's refreshing to work with a team where ideas flow freely, feedback is constructive, and there's a genuine sense of camaraderie. Plus, the diversity of perspectives and skills within the team adds richness to our projects and fosters continuous growth and learning.

And let's not forget the jokes—granted, I’m the one who usually cracks all the jokes, but sometimes Greg gets on me, too.

What are some of the values at Thinkubator Media that resonate with you?
As a Black woman, inclusiveness and authenticity are intertwined values that hold profound significance for me. Inclusiveness ensures that individuals from marginalized communities, like mine, are not only included but also valued and empowered within all spaces. It acknowledges the unique perspectives and contributions that diverse voices bring to the table, fostering a sense of belonging and representation.

Similarly, authenticity empowers me to embrace and celebrate my true self, unapologetically. It allows me to defy societal norms and expectations, embracing my identity and experiences without fear of judgment or discrimination. Together, inclusiveness and authenticity create environments where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to be their authentic selves, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance for all.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love binge-watching TV shows, PILATES, and traveling (Turks and Thailand are on my list for 2024!).

Do you have any hidden talents?
Now that I am thinking about it, no, I do not! I’m about to look up some and try to work at one to become my hidden talent. lol

What is one intention that you are leading 2024 with?
One intention that I am leading 2024 with is mastering the art of pivoting. I’m learning to let things come and go as they are meant to. I am trying to embrace change with confidence, adapt when need be, and use any failures to help me FALL FORWARD instead of back.

Whether it's in my personal or professional life, I am committed to approaching each situation with resilience, creativity, and a willingness to explore new directions. (cues SERENITY PRAYER)

 

 

 

Making Space for Motherhood: Why is it So Hard?

In a day and age when women are now expected to contribute as much of themselves to their work life as we once did our families and homes, it is baffling to find so many challenges when navigating the workspace comfortably and effectively as a mother. A 2021 McKinsey study shows that businesses led by women tend to outperform those with little to no women in senior positions. This statistic highlights that women and mothers are not only valuable at home but also to our economic wellness and growth. 

There have been some hopeful strides in bridging the gender gap in the workforce, making things appear equal on the surface. For example, in the U.S., women make up about half of the total scientists across STEM fields. While this is a positive fact,  Tara Barrow’s experience at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference can serve as a teachable moment. Barrow’s experience and others like it help pave the way for us to understand the importance of equity and creating solutions that are fair for everyone. 

A common issue women and mothers face is having safe, sanitary, and accommodating spaces to tend to their needs. As a new mom, breastfeeding and pumping become a regular part of a woman’s daily routine. Oftentimes, moms have to prepare to feed or pump at all hours of the day to provide nourishment for their children and maintain their own health. It requires a lot of energy to nurture someone. As mothers, there are rapid, permanent, and constant changes that occur on a cellular level, ultimately priming the mom to be a nurturer. Increased mental, emotional, and physical sensitivity affects the mother for years after the initial stages of postpartum. 

Women, particularly those who have chosen to become moms, live in a completely different world than the rest of us. To avoid the pitfalls that come with playing superwoman, such as mood disorders, decreased performance, insomnia, postpartum mood disorders, and substance abuse, it would be beneficial to consider and provide the accommodations necessary for mothers to rest in our power. 

How Can We Support Moms in the Workplace? 

Fellow mom and researcher Anna Kent shares a few pivotal ideas on how to actively support moms in the workforce, including better benefits and flexibility in the workplace, improved access to quality, affordable child care, and encouraging a deeper respect and understanding for all that women and mothers do at home, at work, and anywhere else we are needed. 

Include the women and mothers in your workplace in a meaningful and mindful dialogue on how to meet their needs more effectively. Regular check-ins and a little more help from our human nature can help us advance toward a more harmonious experience for mothers, their families, and our society as a whole. 

Understanding the biological implications of motherhood and the life-altering changes that come with it, women have been primed with a loving sense of duty that can be channeled into anything we are passionate about and empowered by. If women are driving much of our economic success as it is, imagine how much further we will be when women and mothers truly feel supported and empowered in all that we do.

Mbadika: Meet Netia McCray and Her Limitless World of Ideas

Netia McCray grew up watching her parents make their dreams become reality. Her mother and father were scientists in their own right, demonstrating a particular knack for creation and production. 

Netia’s mother was a seamstress, demonstrating design development with her unique fashion creations for family and community members alike. Her mother would also spend her spare time teaching others how to nurture their own entrepreneurial spirits. 

Netia’s father was a mechanical engineer, working on cars and spending much of his time tinkering away at old gadgets and gizmos.

At the end of her junior year in high school, Netia was invited to check out MIT’s summer enrichment program, MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science). After aspiring to attend the school himself, her father fervently suggested that she attend the program. Unsure of what MIT had to offer, Netia was initially skeptical, assuming she’d be forced to learn nuclear physics. 

Once she reached the Cambridge campus, Netia was pleasantly surprised by MIT’s vast scientific opportunities, unveiling a rich world of potential. Netia was exposed to a unique network of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines, unraveling the mystery of science into something more digestible. Blown away by the fullness of STEM, Netia eagerly participated in the program and earned herself a full ride to the school as an undergraduate, making her family proud. 

Despite facing personal and social hardships, Netia was determined and graduated from MIT with a desire to bring her newfound passion to young students like her. She has been on a mission to demystify the world of science and open the doors of opportunity to more students of color ever since.

Shortly after graduating, Netia launched her company Mbadika, (bah-GEEe-kah), focusing on providing local Boston high school students with paid STEM internships. The internship program not only allowed the students to explore the sciences, but they also had a hand in developing some of the later programming for Mbadika. The first cohort of students contributed to the design and production of the MLAB field kits, which continue to inspire fellow explorers ages 8 and up.  Mbadika also recently launched a public workshop initiative, MLAB, to provide the general public access to STEM education in informal settings such as local shopping centers. Featured in a pop-up at the Cambridgeside Galleria, these biweekly workshops offered students and newcomers a taste of STEM by exploring the science of fashion or how to recreate items from popular films. 

Both the workshop and internship aim to bring various STEM concepts and practices such as design development, 3D Printing, digital content creation, and more. Netia has been able to present complex topics and ideas in a relatable and engaging way. In this way, Netia has successfully been able to empower people from all walks of life to take risks, be bold, and realize their innate ability to understand STEM. 

Communications Foundations Online Course

Thinkubator Media is proud to present our online learning platform. Below is our inaugural course: Thinkubator Media's Communication Foundations Course.

With this course, you'll receive step-by-step support on how to build a communications foundation for you, your company, idea, or research.

What to Expect
In this course, you will gain the knowledge and understanding of the basic communication skills needed to build your own communications roadmap for your company.

What We'll Cover
In this introductory course, we'll cover the following topics:

What You'll Learn
By the end of this course, you'll be able to:

ENROLL NOW!

Thinkubator Media Presents to Mass NextGen Founders

Thinkubator Media founder and CEO Lori Lennon was invited to present a workshop to founders of the Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (Mass Next Gen), a program within the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) organization. The goal of this January session was to guide founders on how to create engaging stories and messages to reach their growing audience. 

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share our company’s knowledge of messaging and storytelling with Mass Next Gen founders,” said Lennon. “Effective messaging in the sciences can make or break an idea. These founders now have more resources in their toolbox to grow and thrive.”

MLSC is a Massachusetts-based group dedicated to the economic and organizational growth of Massachusetts-based life science organizations.  The team at MLSC heavily prioritizes innovative ventures and development in the various fields of biotechnology, including biopharma, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. MLSC makes it possible for up-and-coming biotech companies to access the necessary resources to sustain and empower their endeavors. 

Mass NextGen’s mission is to empower the next generation of life scientists by leveling the playing field for women. Mass NextGen is working on expanding its program to reach more women entrepreneurs in life sciences. 

In their first four years alone, Mass NextGen allocated $2 million in funding to women entrepreneurs, along with 200+ hours of coaching services. Mass NextGen is helping jump-start the future of science by investing in young and curious women. 

MLSC has remained steadfast in upholding future generations of Massachusetts-based biotech science initiatives. Since 2007, the organization has played an integral role in supporting local research, and commercialization of technology, along with successful business implementation and expansion initiatives.

MLSC and Mass NextGen continue to expand their reach across the state. If you would like to learn how to get involved, visit their website here.

4 Tips for Mentorship Success

To be a mentor is to be an experienced and trusted advisor. Mentorship is a rising career choice in this day and age. But in a time when essentially anyone can become a mentor, do you know what sets you apart from the rest? An ideal mentor provides a unique and life-changing experience for their mentees, but what guarantees that you can deliver such an impactful promise each time?

Sharing your unique perspective and expertise will set you and your mentees apart for a successful career. However, some specific skill sets can make or break your mentee’s lasting success. Today, we connect with Thinkubator Media’s founder, Lori Lennon, and fellow communications guru, Dr. Tana Jospeh, for their insight on being the best mentor.

Understand Your Role as a Mentor
A great mentor is like a knowledgeable and kind guide. It’s not your job to take on your mentee’s entire workload to reach their goals. It can also be counterproductive to leave your mentee to completely fend for themself as they navigate their challenges.

Striking a harmonious and interdependent relationship can determine how well your mentorship goes. Your mentees should know that they can reach out to you whenever they need to, but they should also have the confidence to produce successful results. As a mentor, you support your mentee’s action plan and brainstorm new ideas and improvements to maintain their success.

Know Yourself, Know Your Mentee
Although it would be great to help everyone who comes our way, sometimes the best help we can offer is redirection. By having those initial conversations with your mentees, you can readily assess your compatibility with one another. Determine and set your own boundaries while considering the values and guidelines set by your mentees as well.

In some instances, you can work through any perceived conflicts or disagreements with respect and understanding. But in the case when you and your mentee just can’t see eye to eye, it would be best to amicably bring your services to a close. Then you’ll both have more bandwidth to connect with people who are on the same page for more productive outcomes.

Determine Your Boundaries and Standards
This is similar to creating your niche. Will you be helping mentees with startups or who are already a few years into their ventures? Do you help with marketing, financial management, or several aspects of business?

Your boundaries will also include behaviors and dynamics that you will or will not tolerate. If a mentee yells at you during a meeting, is that the end of your relationship? If you’re a year into a mentorship role and your mentee is still struggling to produce their desired results, is it time to reevaluate your connection or the strategies you’ve tried?

By determining your boundaries and standards as a mentor, you will save yourself and potential mentees a lot of time by laying the foundation for the dynamics that encourage shared success.

Understand the Framework for Your Mentee
Identify your mentee’s needs with regular conversations and updates around their goals and strategies. Each mentee will likely require a unique framework to meet their goals. As you sit back and watch your mentee excel, you will be able to determine when your mentee has received the full benefit of your mentorship. It can be helpful to go into the mentorship dynamic and determine an appropriate timeframe with each mentee based on their individual needs. This can also change based on how often you meet, how strong the mentee’s work ethic is, and other personal factors.

Being a great mentor starts with the expertise you offer and the standards you set for building relationships with your mentees. As you define the ideal framework for your mentorship services to thrive, you extend this success to your mentees as they pursue and achieve their dreams under your guidance.

If you still need support with establishing a successful mentorship practice, Lori and Dr. Joseph will be launching a mentorship workshop to guide mentors in bettering their services. Stay tuned for details regarding this up-and-coming feature from the Thinkubator Media team.