Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM, or #VanguardSTEM for short, is an online platform and community devoted to encouraging conversations between emerging and established women of color, girls of color and non-binary people of color in STEM.
These folks are often the first or only in their schools, departments, or workplaces so we’ve built an online community where we can come together to recognize expertise, share stories, combat struggles, and celebrate the accomplishments of other women and non-binary people of color in STEM.
Our online community programming connects folks of all stages and ages with peers and mentors who share their identities. Our articles, blogs, and academic literature helps people of any identity build safe spaces for people of color in STEM. Our videos, podcasts, and community features increase the digital footprint of women and non-binary scientists, reminding us all that we are what scientists look like.
Through #VanguardSTEM, we assert, without apology, the right of Black, Indigenous, women of color and non-binary people of color to fully represent ourselves and our STEM identities and interests, without assimilation.
As a community and program founded by Black women scientists, we apply an experimental approach to our programming. Our hypothesis driven approach to engaging our audience is based on empirical research on supporting under-represented identities in STEM and social justice endeavors to liberate.
This experimental approach was published in 2021 as the Intersectional Scientific Method (ISM). To learn more about our praxis, read our first peer-reviewed publication: “Defining the Flow—Using an Intersectional Scientific Methodology to Construct a VanguardSTEM Hyperspace”.
Professor Isler (she/her) is an assistant professor of astrophysics at Dartmouth College. She has been recognized as a TED Fellow, TED Senior Fellow, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Kavli Fellow and Scialog Fellow for her innovative research and efforts to inspire a new generation (and encourage an existing heritage) of STEM leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. 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.
Dr. Isler has currently taken a leave of absence from #VanguardSTEM to serve as the Principal Assistant Director for Science and Society at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Read more about Dr. Isler here.
Anicca Harriot (she/her) is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Upon completion Anicca will join Johns Hopkins University as an IRACDA Fellow with appointments to the Department of Biomedical Engineering and School of Medicine Cardiovascular Systems. Her research focuses on the mechanisms responsible for skeletal muscle atrophy and cardiac dysfunction in dystrophy, aging, and spaceflight. Anicca’s passion for advocacy and prominent influence has led her to being recognized as one of Motherboard’s 2017 Humans of the Year, a 2017 Young Futurist for The Root, and most recently as a 2020 President’s Fellow at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Through #VanguardSTEM, Anicca is able to deploy her passion for advocacy and science communication in service of women of color & non-binary people of color in STEM.
Dr. Arianna Long (she/her) is currently a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She uses telescopes on the ground and in space to understand the birth and evolution of the most massive galaxies in the early Universe. Dr. Long achieved her Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Mathematics from Towson University, MD, spent some time as a data analyst in the consulting industry, then returned to higher education to achieve her M.S. in Physics in the Cal State University, Los Angeles’s NASA DIRECT-STEM program. Dr. Long continued on to achieve her doctoral degree in physics and astronomy as a Eugene Cota Robles Fellow and Ford Foundation Fellow at the University of California, Irvine. Her research has been featured in Scientific American, Astrobites, the Parsing Science Podcast, and more. For her writing, she was recently awarded the National Academies of Science Excellence in Science Communication Award and featured in the 2022 Best American Science and Nature Writing book compilation. In addition to her research, Dr. Long is a mentor and leader, having founded and led several mentoring programs to support marginalized scientists such as PACE@UCI and the Guerrilla Mentoring initiative at VanguardSTEM. As Chief Programming Officer of #VanguardSTEM, Dr. Long develops and leads radical mentoring initiatives to support gender minorities of color in STEM.
Geraldine Ezeka, Ph.D. (she/her) obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is passionate about entrepreneurship/venture creation and uplifting women of color in the biotech/biopharma ecosystem. Based in Boston, she is a co-founder of Fuel the Kids. This community organization serves youth in underserved communities in Baltimore. Geraldine was the founding Executive Vice President of Culture for biotech-centered nonprofit, Nucleate. Outside of VanguardSTEM, she works as an Associate at a venture creation firm interested in innovative bio platform company building, music/arts, and venture capitalism. Ask her about music/art show production!
Natasha played many roles during her time at #VS including graphic designer, creative director, editor, writer, thought partner and chief of creative strategy. She helped to curate, write, design and edit virtually everything we did between 2016-2019. You can find some of her work by clicking below.
Leo is one of the warmest and sharpest people you’ll meet. During her time with #VS between 2017-2020, she helped to streamline our engagement with our #WCWinSTEM features and infuse that process with kindness and hospitality. You can find some of her work by clicking below.
Chrys is a strategic thinker and a world changer. As digital curator, she conceived of and popularized #WCWinSTEM feature series and a very well-received mental health series specifically for women of color and non-binary people of color in STEM, all while helping build #VS during 2016-2020. You can find some of her work by clicking below.
Marie Sgouros (They/Them) obtained their BA in Economics and Mathematical Sciences at Barnard College, Columbia University. They are passionate about digital equity, tech for good, and uplifting LGBTQ+ BIPOC voices in STEM spaces. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, they are a lifetime Girl Scout and co-founder of English Kids to Kids and Bridging Cultures, a peer-to-peer summer program for refugee and immigrant kids. Outside of VanguardSTEM, they are a tech product manager interested in startups and venture capitalism. Ask them about their dog, Effie.