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

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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
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What You'll Learn
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No Limits: Honoring Mae Jemison

Photo Source: Britannica.com (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mae-Jemison#/media/1/302488/117565)

Women have pioneered alongside their male counterparts since the dawn of time. What a dull world we would have if there were truly only one perspective to shape life as we know it.  

Women have also had a hand in shaping the way we see and understand outer space. Many notable women explorers have traveled among the stars, with one in particular who had to face many challenges to get there. 

Mae Jemison was born in Alabama and raised in Chicago during the 1960s. In a particularly heated social climate, dreams only seemed to go so far for people who looked like Mae. Hearing about other people’s constant fears and doubts never stopped Mae from having her head just above the clouds, where she could stay in touch with her big, bold dreams. 

She received her college education from Stanford University, where she studied chemical engineering at just 16 years old. For a young black woman in the 1970s, such a feat was incredible in itself, proving to Mae that she could truly do anything. 

After completing several community-based health initiatives after graduating college, Mae Jemison applied to NASA twice. In 1987, just 4 years after Sally Ride became the first American woman and third woman to travel to space, Mae was picked out of a pool of 2,000+ applicants to join NASA’s space exploration team. After several years of astronaut training, Mae Jemison took her first trip to space in 1992, making history as the first Black woman in space.

Since completing her historical debut in outer space, Mae Jemison has continued to stay pretty down to earth. She has since taught at several universities such as Dartmouth College and Cornell University. Ms. Jemison also launched a space and science camp for kids, called The Earth We Share, lasting well into the mid-2000s. She also launched a non-profit in honor of her mother, Dorothy Jemison, specializing in science, space, and youth engagement. Currently, Mae advises several companies and organizations to guide scientific improvements as well as DEI initiatives. 

With a long-time love for science and dance, Mae was able to marry her innate talents with her desire for exploration. Her mother was sure to guide her to continue taking her education seriously while making time and space to fulfill her passions as well. 

Mae Jemison is a testament to women and girls everywhere; we don’t have to choose just one passion to pursue to claim our victory in life. The world becomes an even brighter place when we make room for all of the things that inspire and bring us joy. 

The Problem Thinkubator Media is Trying to Solve

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