Non-scripted STEMulating Conversations to help you navigate the journey to a rewarding and satisfying career!

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September 13, 2017

SC12: The STEMConnector PhD NFL Cheerleader Dr. Talmesha Richards

When dancing is your outlet, then why not use your talents to cheer for the NFL team in your city while you are pursuing your PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine.  Don't think it is possible, then you have to listen to this episode with Dr. Talmesha Richards. 


Mentioned in the show:


Meyerhoff Scholars at UMBC



September 13, 2017

SC11: The Wisdom and Wit of Dr. Bill Jackson

Dr. Jackson received his PhD in 1961 from Catholic University. He shares his experiences in industry, government and the private sector in his almost 60 years of working in the field of chemistry.  He still enjoys it because a scientist never stops learning. 

He is a founding member of NOBCChE, an organization that has played a tremendous role in the professional development of chemists of color.



August 30, 2017

SC10 Hot Topic: Receiving Feedback

We spend time learning how to give feedback, but learning how to receive feedback is equally important. This quick hot topic shares three tips to help you become a better receiver of feedback.



August 23, 2017

SC09 Executive Director of Boston's Best Small Company: Dr. Joanne Kamens

She’s the Executive Director of Addgene which was named the Best place to work in Boston for 2016.  After listening to this interview you will undoubtedly understand why.  Dr. Joanne Kamens is a trained scientist who leads the organization by example and creates a culture that values the differences each scientist brings to the table.

She shares her journey from STEM PhD graduate school to her current role and highlights the importance of mentoring and using your networks to identify, prepare for and secure opportunities. There is so much packed into this conversation that you may find yourself rewinding and listening to it multiple times. 

As mentioned on the show:

Her career blogging is at blog.addgene.org
Follow on her directly on Twitter @jkamens 
People can also follow @Addgene on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (coming soon Instagram)
Her most recent post on diversity in science
Mentoring 101 ebook. It is a free pdf and can be downloaded here. It contains a how-to guide for Peer Mentoring




August 16, 2017

SC08 Chemjobber: A Chemist with a Job Blog

Chemjobber is a midcareer process chemist with a PhD in organic chemistry who has garnered a popular social media presence that connects not only people, but also ideas.  He started a blog to help chemists find jobs in during the turbulent economic times in 2008, and after nearly a decade, it has grown to be an invaluable resource to both students and professionals of the chemical enterprise.  

Mentioned in this episode:

Follow @chemjobber on Twitter

Chemjobber Blog:  http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/

Article from former Dow CTO on hiring PhDs: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2013/05/how-succeed-industry-really-trying



August 9, 2017

SC07 Hot Topic: Having a Successful Career in Industry with Dr. Alveda Williams


Before Dr. Alveda Williams entertains a new opportunity, she asks: 1.) Is it fun? 2.) Is it impactful? 3.) Do I have anything to contribute? This has been key to her accepting roles throughout her career that have been challenging, rewarding, and satisfying.  Her beyond the bench experiences include contributing to the efforts of a corporate acquisition, leading the United States PhD recruiting strategy, and even a role leading a team of HR professionals.


August 2, 2017

SC06 Hot Topic: Branding or Bragging?


Even though personal branding is not bragging, people find it difficult to promote their unique skills and accomplishments to aide in their career development and progression. This hot topic is on what personal branding is and tips to begin your rebranding process.


July 26, 2017

SC05 Developing Nurturing Mentoring Enviorments in STEM with Dr. Beronda Montgomery

Dr. Beronda Montgomery is a plant scientist by training, and leverages her technical expertise to advance a professional development area that she is truly passionate.  She masterfully uses the analogy of plant care and maintenance to illustrate the importance that a nurturing environment plays in mentoring. She has written extensively on the topic of mentoring, particularly within the STEM community and has been recognized for her work in this area.

Follow her on Twitter @BerondaM for STEMulating and thoughtful tips on mentoring.

Articles written by Dr. Montgomery about mentoring:

Montgomery, BL. (2017). Mapping a Mentoring Roadmap and Developing a Supportive Network for Strategic Career Advancement. SAGE Open 7(2),


Montgomery, BL (2017). Three Sisters and Integrative Faculty Development. Plant Science Bulletin, 63(3): 78–85,


Montgomery, BL (2017). Growing from adviser to mentor. MSUToday,


Montgomery, BL, Colon-Carmona, A (2016). Cultivating Evidenced-Based Mentoring and Training to Enhance Diversity in STEM, ASPB News, 43(2): 5.

Montgomery, BL (2016). Evidence-based Training and Mentoring Practices: Practical Implications for Improving Diversity in STEM Education and Training, ASBMB Today, 15(2): 31.

Whittaker, JA, Montgomery, BL, Martinez Acosta, VG. (2015). Retention of Underrepresented Minority Faculty: Strategic Initiatives for Institutional Value Proposition Based on Perspectives from a Range of Academic Institutions. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 13(3),


Montgomery, BL, Dodson, JE, Johnson, SM. (2014). Guiding the Way: Mentoring Graduate Students and Junior Faculty for Sustainable Academic Careers. SAGE Open 4(4),


Whittaker, JA, Montgomery, BL (2014). Cultivating Institutional Transformation and Sustainable STEM Diversity in Higher Education through Integrative Faculty Development. Innovative Higher Education, 39(4),


Whittaker, JA, Montgomery, BL (2012). Cultivating Diversity and Competency in STEM: Challenges and Remedies for Removing Virtual Barriers to Constructing Diverse Higher Education Communities of Success. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 11(1),


Dodson, JE, Montgomery, BL, Brown LJ (2009). ‘Take the Fifth’: Mentoring Students Whose Cultural Communities Were Not Historically Structured Into U.S. Higher Education. Innovative Higher Education 34(3),


Additional mentoring resources:

Mentoring Resources via Becky Packard (@BeckyPackard) – https://commons.mtholyoke.edu/beckypackard/resources/

National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) – https://nrmnet.net/

MentorNet (@MentorNetTweet) – http://mentornet.org/

Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning (journal) – http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cmet20/current



July 19, 2017

SC04 Engineering a Career with Family: Dr. GDale Wesson

Dr. Dale Wesson shares his journey from a chemical engineering undergraduate student to a VP of Research in Higher Education Administration.  He gained valuable experiences along his non-linear journey to the PhD, which included resigning from the same company twice. 

Through all of this, he credits having a strong family support system as the main reason he has been able to have a successful career and a healthy family life.

If you enjoyed this conversation and would like to connect with Dr. Wesson, you can follow him on Twitter @gdalewesson or reach him via email at dwesson@ vsu [dot] edu



July 12, 2017

SC03 Running Dad Zach Cross Turns Synthesis to Sales

Zach Cross went from a high performing synthetic chemist to a top technical salesperson.  The non-linear path that he took to get there, however, is the best part of this STEMulating conversation.  Through a series of events, Zach Cross realized that chemistry in a macroeconomic sense was changing, and he had to both adjust and adapt to remain relative and competitive. 

He also shares his love for running and how he has been able to incorporate it in several phases of his career.  He has organized a successful fundraising event for his company and as a calling card to develop rapport with potential clients.  Zach shared that running allows him to focus and applies it to everything he does in life, from being a husband, a dad, and a professional. 

As this episode aired, he completed another milestone of 600 consecutive days of running at least 1 mile.

Check him out and follow his running streak on social media using the hashtag RunningDad


July 5, 2017

SC02 Learning to Embrace Career Challenges with Dr. Sibrina Collins

Have you ever been grateful that some things didn't work out the way you wanted them?  Dr. Sibrina Collins began her career journey on a path to the professoriate, but a disappointing tenure decision forced her to reassess what she really wanted to do in a career.  She began to walk in her purpose of serving the STEM community in a way that truly aligns with her passion which led to her current roles as the first Executive Director of the Marburger STEM Center at Lawrence Technical University.

Dr. Collins shares her story, and gives solid advice to those who may be facing a challenge in their current role, and also addresses the importance of self-care and family.

Mentioned in the episode:

Marburger STEM Center at Lawrence Technological University

Claflin University

Sweet Tea!  A Southern delicacy

Careers for Chemist: A World Outside the Lab

Dr. Collins may be contacted at scollins @ltu [dot] edu

June 28, 2017

SC01: From Academia to the Private Sector with Dr. Carl Cohen

Carl is a thought leader in the field of management and leadership training for scientists and technical professionals. 

Interesting facts that we learn about Carl in the conversation is that he is a trained physicist, who early in his career, was tasked to lead a hematology lab!  From there he went on to become a tenured professor, then left the academy to fill an executive role at a biotech company. 

Mentioned on this episode:

Leadership in Bioscience Workshop, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

A tale of two companies”  Blog post

Lab Dynamics: Management and Leadership Skills for Scientists (available on Amazon).

Zia Khan, VP of Initiatives and Strategy, Rockefeller Foundation. Co-author of “Leading outside the lines: How to mobilize the informal organization, energize your team and get better results” with Jon R. Katzenbach.

Connect with Carl:

Science Management Associates Website



June 28, 2017

SC00: Welcome to STEMulating Converstions

The host, Marquita M. Qualls, PhD aka "Dr. Q" is a living example of someone who decided to leave the bench and pursue a career that helps others achieve their goals.  Though a chemist by training, she commands a masterful understanding of the human aspects needed to thrives in today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment. This has enables her to function and make seamless transitions between the scientific and non-technical worlds.

This show is built around non-scripted STEMulating Conversations with those who started out doing laboratory research, then ventured Beyond the Bench to use their skills and experiences in other ways. 

If you have guest or topic recommendations for the show, please send them to podcast@stemulatingconvo.com

Mentioned in this show:

Adrienne at Groovetheory Designs

Stephen Hart and The Trailblazers podcast