NOBCChE eBrief
Apr. 10, 2014

Take the NOBCChE Haiku Challenge and get entered into a drawing for free registration to the conference in New Orleans for you and a friend!
In honor of national poetry month, we are hosting the NOBCChE Haiku Challenge. Tweet or email us an original Haiku about NOBCChE and/or science technology engineering and math (STEM) and you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a 50 percent discount on this year's conference registration. If your haiku connects to this year's theme "STEMulating Economic Growth through Innovation and Entrepreneurship" you could win free conference registration for you and a friend. All entries must be submitted by April 31.

How do you write a STEM haiku?

  1. Select a STEM or NOBCChE topic.
  2. Brainstorm a list of words about your topic.
  3. Count the syllables in each word.
  4. Use the words to share a short STEM/NOBCChE thought using the haiku format.
What is the haiku format?More

Midland Chapter hosts the 15th annual Regional NOBCChE Science Bowl

The Midland NOBCChE Chapter (National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) hosted its flagship event, the Great Lakes Bay Region NOBCChE Science Bowl, on Saturday, March 15 at Saginaw Valley State University. The academic quiz bowl provided middle and high school students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of science and math and their knowledge of transformative African-American inventors and scientists.

"NOBCChE has hosted the Science Bowl for over 15 years. This was the largest Science Bowl that has been hosted in the last five years. Teams have come from as far away as Indianapolis in past. Many of our past participants have become physicians, engineers, chemists and computer scientists. Approximately 65 students (13 teams) from the Great Lakes Bay Region competed in the double elimination Science Bowl," said Takiya Foskey, president of Midland NOBCChE.

According to Tangie Neal, president of Mu Alpha Omega, it takes a large number of volunteers to host a successful Science Bowl. "Midland AKAs [were] delighted to be able to support NOBCChE. We all love science and helping the next generation of scientists," Neal said.

Jayvon Garth, Saginaw native and fifth-year civil engineering student at Wayne State University in Detroit, was the keynote speaker for the Science Bowl. Garth was recently named one of 10 New Faces of Civil Engineering — College Edition by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Garth's academic success and interest in science were displayed during high school when he and a group of students finished second place in the NOBCChE National Science Bowl.

Sponsors of the NOBCChE Science Bowl were The Dow Chemical Co., Midland Chapter of the American Chemical Society and Mu Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

To view more pictures of the Midland Science Bowl, visit our Facebook Page.More

Turning vision into reality: NOBCChE member Darrel Davis gives a broken down hospital building a new lease on life

"My passion for years has been to get
more minority students into STEM
using my background in drug forensic
chemistry and analytical
instrumentation. I fell in love
physically with the city and the
warmth of Milledgeville but then I saw
the potential of Central State Hospital
and the buildings and the land and the
opportunity to have a STEM program
Broken windows, overgrown grass and no trespassing signs — this is Central State Hospital today. It is a much different sight than it was in its heyday, but NOBCChE member and retired DEA laboratory director Darrell Davis has the vision to see the hospital as the new home for his STEM school and lab. The Central State Hospital is now the home of the Committee for Action Program Services - Analytical Training Laboratory (CAPS-ATL), a STEM-based organization whose mission is to provide analytical services for the global community and training and research opportunities for secondary/postsecondary students and educators in the area of analytical science. Davis, along with a technology company and church group, are the three new lease holders renting buildings at the hospital. Mike Couch with the CSH Local Redevelopment Authority says these contracts mark a milestone in revitalizing and repurposing the campus.

"It will be a different community but I think it'll be stronger," Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley said. "It'll be more dependable as far as being able to continue its use. It will have an economic impact and more importantly create jobs."

"My passion for years has been to get more minority students into STEM using my background in drug forensic chemistry and analytical instrumentation. I fell in love physically with the city and the warmth of Milledgeville but then I saw the potential of Central State Hospital and the buildings and the land and the opportunity to have a STEM program here."

The CAPS - Analytical Training Laboratory (ATL) was featured on 41NBC/WMGT. Click here to view the entire segment. To learn more about CAPS-ATL visit, More

Catching up with the ladies of COACh: Spotlight on Professor Emerald Wilson, MS
In 2008, a group of six young women at various stages of their academic programs came together during the COACh (Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists) workshop held at the 37th annual conference in Philadelphia seeking personal growth and professional development opportunities. During this workshop, they uncovered some common challenges encountered to advance their careers, and worked together to develop a specific set of skills necessary to break through those roadblocks.

Now these women have a shared sisterhood and are doing great things in their career and in NOBCChE. NOBCChE caught up with Emerald Wilson to see what she is doing now in her career and how the COACh workshop at NOBCChE helped her get there.

If you are interested in attending the COACh workshop at the upcoming NOBCChE conference in New Orleans, please send an email to

NOBCChE E-Brief: How did you first get involved with NOBCChE?
Emerald Wilson:
My former adviser suggested I attend the workshop. I first learned about NOBCChE in July 2000 from someone who was sitting next to me on plane. I was flying in from a leadership conference in Champaign, Ill. I was taking a connecting flight from Champaign to Pittsburgh in Chicago. The person beside me was a female chemist who was attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh.

She told me about the organization because I told her I was a chemistry major. I attended a small private institution so I was unaware that such an organization existed. Unfortunately, I lost her contact information but I made sure I became a member of the organization online. I attended a conference to present my research in 2002 and met other individuals who were influential as I continued my career in chemistry. Basically, I was member of the national organization.

[NEB]: What was your first impression of the COACh workshop? What aspects of the workshop do you remember the most? How did the COACh workshop help you move forward in your career?
[EW]: I remember there being a small group of us. Each of us were going through a turn point or pivotal point in our lives and our careers. Most of us had gone through serious trials and tribulations during our journey to obtaining a graduate degree. We had some good discussion. The facilitators gave us feedback about how to look at situations differently.

[NEB]: What have you done in your career since the workshop? What have you been doing with NOBCChE since the workshop?
[EW]: I completed my master's degree with a specialization in the biological and physical acience and a community college teaching certificate. I worked for a temp agency and tutored for a couple years. I had rather rocky start coming out of graduate school. But, in August 2013, I started teaching at Prince George's Community College. I teach general and organic chemistry.

[NEB]: What would you tell someone who is thinking about attending a COACh workshop? What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining NOBCChE?
[EW]: I would tell them attend if they have an opportunity. I am no longer a member [of NOBCChE], [but] I tell students to look into because it is great resource. There are opportunities for students in terms of networking, research and scholarships.

[NEB]: What advice would you share with aspiring female leaders in NOBCChE and in STEM in general?
[EW]: It is important to have networking connections with other individuals in the research/career area. It makes a difference. If you can find a connection with someone or a group, NOBCChE is definitely an organization to get involved with because many influential are connected with NOBCChE. It can sometimes be a long, lonely road. Take advantage of as many internships, workshops and/or conferences. Making connections with like-minded people or people who believe you can make the difference between giving up and making a difference. The people you start with may not necessarily be people you finish with in the end. It is not a race. Sometimes you have to take the long road to get to where you want to be. You cannot try to be someone else. You can only be you. You are going make mistakes and you are going to learn from them. You can only do better the next time around. More

Changing the face of astronomy research
National Public Radio
Shooting for the stars is expensive. Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields. A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.More

Harassment at work: 52 percent of women report bullying
More than half of women have experienced harassment and bullying at work, according to the biggest-ever study of women in the workplace, and the sectors where it is the worst might surprise you. Some 52 percent of women said they'd experienced bullying and harassment at work over the previous three years, according to a British online survey of 25,000 people carried out by workplace gender campaign Opportunity Now and global professional services firm PwC. More

4 steps to effective performance management
By D. Albert Brannen
Getting the most out of employees has always challenged employers. It is particularly difficult in today's highly-regulated business environment with increased global competition and changing employee attitudes. Performance management is not just about dealing with the poor performers. Instead, as explained in the following paragraphs, it is a more holistic process that begins with getting the right people, setting employee expectations, coaching employees and ultimately dismissing the poor performers or employees who do not fit the organization.More

5 ways leaders enable innovation in their teams
Leaders are accountable to assemble teams and lead them to optimal performance outcomes. An effective leader recognizes the importance of embracing differences in people and knows how to connect the dots amongst those differences to get the best outcomes from the team. This is what cultivates a workplace environment of continuous improvements, innovation and initiative. More

What's wrong with STEM education?
The Huffington Post
Technology is changing our lives and is redefining the landscape of our economy. An increasing share of jobs will require a STEM background, and those with strong experience will find themselves at the center of our new economy. The U.S. government funnels $4.3 billion every year into STEM education-related initiatives, and while the administration's efforts are laudable, we must keep in mind some of the shortcomings and challenges before we begin promoting the widespread adoption of any particular approach.More

Employers struggle to advance diversity initiatives beyond compliance
Bloomberg BNA
Employers value diversity and inclusion initiatives, but many still struggle to advance them beyond basic compliance requirements, according to a study released March 31 by HR consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte. The report found that although a majority of organizations aspire, within three years, to have an "inclusive" culture, only 11 percent report that they currently have one. More

How to break up the old boys' club in your office
Once upon a time, the workplace was very homogeneous. With women's place in the home, and little ethnic diversity, the workplace was dominated by white men. And their judgments, styles and perspectives created the workplace culture and narrative that we still experience. But today, when 36 percent of the US workforce is already multicultural, and 47 percent are women, the composition of employees looks different than it used to. So why should we still play by the old rules and expectations?More

The STEM enrollment boom
Inside Higher Ed
Policy makers regularly talk about the need to encourage more undergraduates to pursue science and technology fields. New data suggest that undergraduates at four-year institutions in fact have become much more likely to study those fields, especially engineering and biology. And while much of the public discussion of STEM enrollments has suggested a STEM vs. liberal arts dichotomy, a new study suggests that this is not the dynamic truly at play. More