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. 

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

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.