Our signature program is Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM, an online platform and monthly web series focused on women and non-binary people of color in STEM. VanguardSTEM has grown into the online platform you’ve come to know and love because of a team of dedicated #WOCinSTEM volunteers. Through The SeRCH Foundation, Inc. we will keep building, keep pushing and keep making space for all people of color, non-gender conforming folks and others who live lives that are too-often marginalized in STEM and society.
Dr. Jedidah Isler is a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Astrophysics at Vanderbilt University where she studies hyperactive, supermassive black holes. Her scientific research explores the physics of blazars – supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies that create particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light. She is a proud alumna of Norfolk State University’s Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences (DNIMAS) and the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program. In 2014, she became the first African American woman to receive her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University. Her innovative and award-winning research has been supported by fellowships from the NSF, NASA, and the Ford Foundation and she has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including NPR’s All Things Considered and TED Radio Hour, the Science Channel’s How the Universe Works, and the 2016 National Geographic feature miniseries MARS. A 2015 TED fellow and a 2017 Senior TED Fellow, more than 2.5 million viewers have watched her TED talks.
Dr. Isler is an outspoken advocate of inclusion and empowerment in STEM fields and is the creator and host of Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM (#VanguardSTEM). Her non-profit organization, STEM en Route to Change (The SeRCH Foundation, Inc.), is dedicated to using STEM as a pathway for social justice and has developed a variety of initiatives including the #VanguardSTEM online platform and web series. Isler has also worked with museums, libraries, planetariums, schools, and universities across the country to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.
Danielle N. Lee is an outreach scientist who studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology. Dr. Lee studies the behavioral biology of small mammals across urban gradients. She is passionate about science outreach and is well known for her science promotion and outreach in social media.
Lee was selected as a 2015 TED Fellow and was named as one of EBONY Magazine’s Power 100 and a White House Champion of Change in STEM Diversity and Access.
Her research includes examining individual behavior variation of mice and rats in the Metro St. Louis area and the natural history of African giant pouched rats. In 2013, Lee helped found the National Science & Technology News Service, a media literacy initiative to bring more science news to African-American audiences and promote science news source diversity in mainstream media.
Ayisha L. Fullerton serves as Principal of The Frederick Douglass Academy (FDA) in Harlem, New York, one of the largest secondary schools in Harlem. Prior to joining FDA, Ayisha spent more than fifteen years with New York City’s public schools as a physics teacher, administrator, and a Director of School Renewal. She has dedicated her career to mentoring underrepresented youth and inspiring a deep love for science, while working to promote equity and inclusiveness in STEM fields.
Dr. Jeffrey Gonda is an Assistant Professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He holds a joint Ph.D. in History and African American Studies from Yale University. His research explores the intersections of gender, race, and civil rights protest in the 20th Century.