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About #VanguardSTEM

Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM, or #VanguardSTEM for short, is a live, monthly web-series featuring a rotating panel of women of color in STEM discussing a wide variety of topics including their research interests, wisdom, advice, tips, tricks and current events (among many other things!). It’s a lively gathering moderated by founder and host, Dr. Jedidah Isler, with questions and input from our viewers via social media. The guiding principle of the show is to create conversations between emerging and established women of color in STEM, where we can celebrate and affirm our identities and STEM interests in a safe space.

The show airs the first Tuesday of every month and you can find all our archived episodes here and on YouTube. In the meantime, join the conversation here on our site or via social media. We have a lot of great content coming out regularly, so stop back often so you don’t miss out. See you around the interwebs!


About Our Team


Jedidah Isler, Ph.D.
Founder, Executive Producer & Host of #VanguardSTEM 

Jedidah Isler speaks during Fellows session 1, TED2015 - Truth and Dare, March 16-20, 2015, Kay Meek Center, West Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Dr. Isler is currently a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University. She was recognized as a TED Fellow in 2015 and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2016 for her innovative research and efforts to inspire a new generation of STEM leaders from underrepresented backgrounds; as well as having been invited to Astronomy Night at the White House. She has been featured in various publications including Wired, Diversity in Action, Ebony, NPR:CodeSwitch, and The Crisis Magazine and her writing has appeared in the New York Times. As a speaker, Dr. Isler works with schools, museums, libraries, and nonprofit organizations across the country to advance the cause of truly inclusive STEM engagement and has established herself as a champion of access and empowerment in STEM education from middle school and beyond. Read more about Dr. Isler here.

Natasha Berryman
Editor-in-Chief, VanguardSTEM.com

Natasha Berryman is a native of the Great Lakes State and a STEM writer who has committed her career to crafting messages and managing projects that are audience-centered, innovative, and reflect her personal standard of achieving excellence. She works diligently to employ a writing and management style that is both creative and systematic, and to be a team player when she collaborates across organizations. Currently, Natasha is a graduate student in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program where she’s studying the dopamine transporter system in C. elegans; the goal is to uncover insights about the normal regulation of this neurotransmitter that can be applied to dopamine-related disorders in humans. She is an advocate for Women of Color, a wielder of #BlackGirlMagic, and would love to chat with you about your project, program or dog (she loves dogs).

Lana Hunter
Operations Manager

LanaHeadShot-7756-EditLana Hunter is the go-to strategist when it comes to helping key influencers and small businesses execute their processes, operations, and events with seamless success. She spent 20 plus years in Corporate America working for recognizable brands such as American Express, Cigna Healthcare, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Mellon Bank and Allscripts. After spending years developing and executing strategies around each company’s client experience that led to high-performing teams and profitable relationships Lana took her own courageous leap.  With a passion to serve, plan, and create great experiences, six years ago she launched and started running her event planning and administration business. Creating and managing projects and transformational events is what drives Lana. A native of the beautiful island of Nassau in the Bahamas, Lana loves and lives colorfully.  Now calling Raleigh, NC her home for the past 20 years, she loves to volunteer in her community, hosts annual fundraising events for causes close to her heart, and spends time traveling with family and friends.

Chrystelle Vilfranc
#WCWinSTEM Coordinator

Chrystelle VilfrancHeadshotChrystelle L. Vilfranc is a native of Brooklyn, NY. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Mathematics from Oakwood University. She is entering her third year as a PhD student in Cancer and Cell Biology. Her lab studies BRUCE: a member of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) family, which has been implicated in biological processes such as: apoptosis and DNA damage and repair. One of her projects include understanding a possible role of BRUCE in fatty liver disease progression. Her main project involves exploring the role of BRUCE in maintaining liver homeostasis post liver injury of a liver-specific carcinogen. One of her long-term goals includes being an advocate for Women of Color in STEM so she is ecstatic to be the #WCWinSTEM coordinator for #VanguardSTEM.