“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! 

 

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!

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)

 

 

 

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!

5 Keys to Help Company Execs Implement an Inclusive Work Culture

Collective change has always begun at the grassroots level. Across civilizations, revolutionary paradigms have been born from the fierce, consistent, and united efforts of the people on the ground. Though many of these demands for fundamental rights have taken years to achieve, these efforts have brought about transformation.

An equitable future is not only the key to a healthy society but a healthy economy as well. A 2020 McKinsey report revealed that companies thrive when everyone is treated fairly. In a study that followed over 1,000 companies worldwide, it was found that the organizations that consistently prioritized DEI standards were more than 30% likely to outperform their peers financially. The companies that struggled with DEI implementation (for any number of reasons) saw slowed growth and performance overall.

Today, we ask Dr. Tana Joseph for an overview of how executive leaders can actively get involved with implementing change. She highlights five key areas of focus for executives to consider when creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) experience. 

Active belief in DEI work and all that it stands for 

Taking DEI work seriously is at the heart of implementing effective and lasting policies. Seeing DEI regulations on the same level as safety and health regulations can make it even easier to consider their importance. When equity is viewed as a fundamental part of company culture, we make natural strides toward creating a sustainable and welcoming environment for all. 

Engage with staff, members, and fellow executives to show interest, improve interpersonal dynamics, and share perspectives. 

Hold and attend company meetings, trainings, and events that highlight and support diversity and inclusion efforts. Get to understand what your team needs then collaborate on creative solutions. 

Check your stats and revisit them regularly. 

Consider your company’s HR statistics such as retention rates, racial and gender demographics, wages, engagement, and all of the inner workings of your organization. Taking so many details into account can seem daunting, but it’s helpful to create SMART  (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. You will start to see the effects of your actions by breaking your goals down into smaller steps. With time, your organization will be taking strides toward a truly inclusive future.  

Bring in outside help wherever needed. 

Considering the various ways that your organization can embrace a healthy future, you may need outside help. Rather than taking on DEI efforts and foundational changes alone, it is most effective to bring in industry experts. Just as you would hire an accountant for financial management or a photographer for professional headshots, a DEI expert can help your team achieve a lasting sense of equity and fairness. 

Work on the inclusion part of DEI efforts before worrying about meeting diversity quotas. 

Although diversity is important, doing too much with little awareness of other cultures and experiences can readily backfire. To make the diversity of your company a genuine and well-rounded part of your organization, focus on inclusion first. It is essential to understand and address any lingering issues within your company at present. Ideally, you can then collectively lay the foundation for a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture. 

Although the responsibility of change is often placed on those who need it most, true transformation in company culture can only happen with buy-in and investment from executives and leadership. Following the five steps featured here is a great start, but if true change is to happen, DEI must be thought of early, often, and integrated with all the company does, rather than its own separate category. 

Still not sure where to start? Thinkubator Media can help. Contact team@thinkubatormedia.com to learn more about our DEI consulting support with Dr. Tana Joseph.

A Goldin Age: Ushering in an Era of Socioeconomic Equity for Women

 

Photo courtesy: CNBC

Claudia Goldin recently claimed the Sveriges Riksbas Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her work on the gender pay gap. Her decades of study have advanced our understanding of the way that women experience the labor force. She combines economics with history to paint a full picture of the feminine experience in America, highlighting how our roles outside of work greatly affect our presence in the traditional labor force. 

Consider how women’s labor wasn’t federally recognized until 1920, during World War I. At this time, fewer men were available to continue the growing industrial labor on the homefront. Naturally, women stepped to the plate with their sleeves rolled up, ready to learn and master these new skills. 

Despite taking on this newer work, women’s families and communities continue needing them, creating a unique juggling act for most women. By understanding the complexity of women’s role in economics, we can see the absolute demand for more equitable and honorable compensation. 

As an author, researcher, Harvard professor, and labor economist, much of Professor Goldin’s focus has stayed on women's role in the country's economic development. Professor Goldin’s expertise makes her a pillar of change in a new socioeconomic structure. 

Goldin’s work encourages us to honor women as the cornerstone of all labor across the globe. The amount of care and energy that goes into supporting households, loved ones, and our dreams (successfully, at that) reveals that women’s labor is essential to human development.

Treating women as a lesser social pawn when we are, at most, empowered co-creators has been a great disservice to our global community. Goldin’s economic chronology invites us all to truly consider and honor the immensity of women’s labor. By contemplating and respecting the complexities of all people, we invite ourselves to a much richer human experience. 

For further reading and research by Goldin, read Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity.

 

Jessica Sanon Amplifies the Voice of Women and Girls in STEM

It is a well-known fact that the world as we know it has been dominated by male thought and expression for the last several thousand years. Science and math in particular, have been marketed and managed in a way to filter out young women from diving head-first into these mysterious concepts. 

Jessica Sanon is one of many phenomenal women who have stepped forward to amplify the female voice in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). After taking the science and tech world by storm, Jessica is intentionally bringing young BIPOC women with her. 

Her company, sySTEMic Flow, brings impactful opportunities in STEM to young BIPOC girls across the country, inspiring a future generation of diverse and esteemed STEM professionals. sySTEMic flow exposes girls and young women to the exciting world of science and math to develop a firm grasp of STEM concepts. Her intentionality around math and science programming broadens the girls’ understanding of traditionally complex topics and leans into how applicable those topics are to their daily lives. From virtual escape rooms to math jeopardy, sySTEMic flow presents math in new and exciting ways, taking the intimidation out of loving and understanding the subject. As she watches her students draw their own exciting conclusions, each girl develops a lasting sense of confidence.

With over a decade of experience in math and science, Jessica has remained steadfast in her efforts to empower young women. Her commitment to advancing the STEM education of young BIPOC women serves a unique purpose by directly addressing deep-rooted and long-standing socioeconomic issues. Her work helps to empower and inspire individuals to explore a higher potential. STEM holds a world of opportunities for all of us. Jessica is committed to creating open and safe spaces in STEM  for collaboration and empowerment.  By sharing a unique and relatable perspective with communities of women who may have limited access to these resources, Jessica and sySTEMic flow are making a positive shift toward an equitable and unified future. 

Jessica continues to advocate for a brighter future by dedicating her time to advancing progressive action in STEM with diversity and inclusion (DEI) work. Outside of sySTEMic flow, she supports individuals and teams with career coaching and business and program development. Jessica’s DEI work blends well with sySTEMic flow, as it paves the way for more companies to value and hire BIPOC young women as they eagerly enter STEM fields. Jessica has also appeared in several national and local media outlets, including Boston 25 News and a TED Talk

DEI expert and Astrophysicist Dr. Tana Joseph Joins Thinkubator Media

No matter how big or small a team is, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion must be a part of your DNA.

Dr. Tana Joseph is joining Thinkubator Media to offer her skills to support DEI efforts and education for companies and founders.

We firmly believe that inclusion must be thought about early and often to create an equitable, safe, and welcoming environment for everyone.

How can Dr. Joseph help?

Dr. Joseph provides training sessions and workshops on topics such as:

Dr. Joseph also works 1-on-1 with teams to create effective and measurable DEI strategies and workplace policies, and develops bespoke training on inclusive public engagement, conference presentations, and how to run meetings, seminars, and conferences through the lens of inclusion.

Welcome to the team, Dr. Joseph!

ABOUT TANA
Dr. Tana Joseph is a South African astronomer, entrepreneur, public speaker, and social justice advocate for the sciences.

She obtained her PhD in physics in 2013 and has been awarded both Fulbright and Royal Society fellowships in recognition of her research excellence.

Dr. Joseph is passionate about science communication and firmly believes that science is for everyone. In 2018, she founded her own science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) communications and consulting company, AstroComms.

Dr. Joseph is an advocate and consultant for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and decolonization efforts in astronomy and science. In this capacity, she works as the Equity and Inclusion coordinator for astronomy in the Netherlands.

Interested in working with Tana? Contact us!

Video: Want to Start a Podcast? Anne Can Help

Thinkubator Media is excited to introduce Anne Chisa, our new podcast coach.

We sat down and spoke with Anne about her podcast, The Root of the Science Podcast, and how she supports scientists who are interested in starting their own podcast.