Member Spotlight – Tokiwa Smith

Tokiwa Smith is a Chemical engineer, STEM Educator and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc also known as SEM Link a nonprofit organization that she founded in 2005 that exposes youth to STEM and STEM Careers that has programs in Atlanta and the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) areas.
She is also CEO and Principal Consultant for Kemet Educational Services, a STEM Educational Consulting Firm that she started in 2010 that focuses on ensuring that pre-college, community college and undergraduates students are prepared to pursue STEM careers. Tokiwa recently relocated back Atlanta, Georgia after spending 7 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she first connected with COPUS.

She recently attended her third Unconference, this January in the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, where we were able to connect with her and learn more about her.

Tokiwa is a native of Miami, Florida and is an alumna of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). She has spent her career working for and developing STEM educational programs for precollege and undergraduate students to provide opportunities for them to be exposed to and be prepared for STEM careers. Through the work of her consulting firm, Kemet Educational Services she is using her background as an engineer and professional experience to bridge the gap between the STEM community and individuals and organizations that want to add STEM to their programming and/or learn how to engage kids in hands on STEM activities by providing them with strategies and tools to do so. Through the work of her nonprofit SEM Link, she is doing one of the things that she loves the most, exposing youth to STEM by engaging them in hands on STEM activities and connecting them with the STEM community.

Tokiwa’s nonprofit SEM Link, is currently in the midst of its “Its All About the Pi” Spring Fundraising Campaign , which ends on April 28th. The funds from this campaign, which individuals can make their tax deductible financial contribution online will support their programs, which include the 10th Annual STEM Career Fair and Exhibition on Saturday, April 15th at Georgia Tech. This event will provide K-12 students and their families with an opportunity to explore careers and meet and interact with professionals in these fields. In addition, Saturday, April 8th, Tokiwa will go back to her alma mater FAMU and along with SEM Link volunteers engage middle and high school students in a hands on chemistry activity at the STEM Expo on STEM Day hosted by the College of Science and Technology.

Some things she’d like to talk to other COPUS members about:

SEM Link
KEMET
Cooperation
All About the Pi

One of Tokiwa’s memorable Unconference moments:

One of Tokiwa’s most memorable moments from the unconference were from our outreach event. “This is the first time that we incorporated an outreach component to the Unconference. It was great to see us work together as a COPUS core as well as connect with the local STEM community to have a great STEM event for the kids. I met some great future STEM professionals from the Yucatan Peninsula that day, including a little boy named Omar that already knew that he wants to be a civil engineer when he grows up.”

By James Zhou

Meet Maya Bialik

maya_bialik

Maya Bialik is co-founder and associate director at The People’s Science, a non-profit that works to improve the relationship between science and the society by hosting a suite of initiatives with a range of science communication goals. She holds a Master’s degree in Mind, Brain & Education from Harvard, and her background includes research in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics. Maya also works as a Research Manager for The Center for Curriculum Redesign, where she synthesizes research to create the theoretical and empirical basis for international education reform. She also writes for Uneven Earth and the Learning and the Brain blog. Last year, she published a book about education and what students need to learn to succeed called Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed.

Three words that describe Maya:
Conceptual, intentional, candid.

The dots Maya connects:
Systems, communication, language, cognition.

Meet Marcos Chu

marcos_chu

Marcos leads a group of professionals that volunteer their time to build resilient learning communities. They build robots using the same materials and equipment students use when participating in robotics activities and competitions. They are platform neutral and do not favor a particular robotics competition organization — they encourage youth to follow their dreams in the PRESENT time, looking at the PAST for inspiration and the FUTURE for hope for a better tomorrow. Marcos and his team believes in laying the foundation for the future, and their hope is to inspire children that will become professionals of tomorrow to become better problem solvers.

Three words that describe Marcos:
Steampunk, demo robots, brasileiro.

The dots Marcos connects:
Marcos’s hope is to be able to network with other energetic individuals that would be interested in building STEM learning communities that are geographically no more than 30 minutes from each other along BERSDT STEM Corridor that will be parallel to old U.S historical highway 66.

Meet Mattias Lanas

mattias_lanas

Mattias is a freelance scientific illustrator and program assistant at the Foster Foundation for Art and Wilderness, based in Palo Alto, CA. Mattias works at the nexus of science communication and visual media and love to show the world how art and science are a strong pairing of disciplines.

Three words that describe Mattias:
Illustrator, naturalist, enthusiastic.

The dots Mattias connects:
Due to his work, Mattias helps communicate science concepts to the public. He is also a firm believer in education regarding the similarities between an art-maker’s brain and that of a natural scientist.

Meet Roger Conner

roger_conner

Roger Conner is the Executive Director of GO-Science (ENCRSC). He is the former VP of Communications for the International Association for Business Leaders. In addition, he has served as the Training and Development Director for the Department of Defense in a classified role. Roger’s research interests are focused on informal science education and the utilization of advanced web technologies to deliver STEM programming to geographically dispersed populations who lack access to advanced content, pedagogical experts, and advanced computing resources. Roger also directs a Gates Foundation program that uses immersive learning technologies for common-core delivery and assessment in a K-12 setting.

Three words that describe Roger:
Geek. Systems thinker. Looks for better ways to do everything.

The dots Roger connect:
Roger connects scientists, researchers, and educators to the general public in an informal hands-on science education environment.

Meet Rocio Sanchez

rocio_sanchez

Rocío Sanchez is Manager of Graduate Student Affairs with the Dept of Plant & Microbial Bio at UC Berkeley. In this role she advises doctoral students through academic and research milestones. As an adviser, she both creates and connects students to services and resources that support personal, academic, and professional development. She is active in efforts to diversify STEM fields through outreach, recruitment, and retention programs for undergraduate and graduate students at CAL. These include SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) and ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), and Amgen Scholars programs. She serves on graduate admission committees and promotes diversity through evidence-based approaches and meaningful conversations with faculty, students, and administrators.

Three words that describe Rocio:
Chicana, adviser, soccer fan!

The dots Rocio connects:

Rocio connects students to science through mentorships and student support programs that are committed to educate and train a diverse generation of scientists to be the future leaders, researchers, educators and professionals.

Meet Morgan Thompson

morgan_thompson

Morgan Thompson is a geneticist, but her passion is informal science education. She is exploring modes of evidence-based dialog & engagement to create new (e.g. Science Presentation as a Performing Art, Emerson College Science Communication Collaborative, etc.) & develop existing programs (e.g. Voice of Young Science USA, Science in the News, Ask for Evidence USA) that provide communication training & public service. Morgan is Assistant Director of Career Development at University of Massachusetts Medical School where she trains Ph.D. students & postdocs in communication & professional skills (http://career.umassmed.edu). She serves on the Public Outreach Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Morgan enjoys kayaking, backpacking, gardening, cooking, & random crafts.

Three words that describe Morgan:
Experimentalist, maker, nurturer

The dots Morgan connects:
Morgan connects scientists, particularly early career researchers, to opportunities for training in communication and direct engagement in their broader communities.

Meet Jessie Herbert

jessie_headshot_round_300px

Jessie Herbert is the STEM Education Program Manager at the University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area. Jessie earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Montana in 2008 and has worked in informal education since then. She became a certified SciGirls trainer in 2011 and trains educators to implement gender-sensitive curricula in their classroom. She also currently co-directs the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative. As a passionate learner, Jessie enjoys teaching and learning about all types of science. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Education from the University of Montana.

 

Three words that describe Jessie:
Energetic, Passionate, Enthusiastic

The dots Jessie connects:
Connecting people, Connecting programs

Meet Monica Albe

monica_albe

Monica Albe is an External Relations Specialist at UC Berkeley (working with the STEM divisions of the College of Letters & Science, and on the advisory board for Science@Cal). She has worked closely with the Berkeley Natural History Museums. Through her work at Science@Cal, she helps with free, public events like science cafes and festivals. She has a background in biology and has been at UC Berkeley since 1999. Monica is also the head of the COPUS intern team (in her humble opinion, the BEST interns around).


Three words that describe Monica:

Museum lover, naturalist, prone to laughter.
The dots Monica connects:
Monica connects the public with UC Berkeley scientists and research.