Martina Efeyini

College and Career Readiness Coordinator and Science Career Columnist

I work for the University of Maryland, Baltimore CURE Scholars Program, a pipeline program in West Baltimore that prepares sixth through 12th-grade students for STEM/healthcare careers. Students receive mentoring, exposure to STEM, academic support, hands-on science, and career exploration. In addition to that, I work for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), a professional science society that supports scientists at all stages of their careers. ASBMB provides training, resources, events, career development, and anything else that scientists will need to be successful.

As the College and Career Readiness Coordinator for CURE, I support 11th and 12th-grade students in the Career Navigators Program with career exploration, college prep, and professional development. As the STEM Expo Manager, I help students develop research projects, present at the annual STEM Expo, and publish their work in the UMB CURE Journal of STEM. As the Science Career Columnist for ASBMB, I interview scientists who work in careers outside of academia and industry to showcase the diversity of STEM careers.

I love my work because it connects STEM, education, communication, outreach, and mentoring to support the next generation of students. I enjoy talking to students about STEM, careers, college, and finding ways to make STEM more accessible to students. I love interviewing scientists across disciplines who are doing amazing things and changing the STEM narrative. My work gives me the opportunity to use my passions, collaborate, work with different organizations, and surround myself with people who support the greater mission of broadening participation in STEM.

The beauty of my work is that every day is different! Depending on the day and what I am doing I have meetings with the central team members, university members, organizations, professionals, and students. Sometimes I meet with people to share programming updates, receive feedback, inquire about collaborations, design curriculum, and plan events. Also, I read scientific papers, interview STEM professionals, share resources, create content, edit and write about science careers. I love every stage of the process and it keeps me on my toes because every day is different.

When I was younger my first mentor was my aunt who is an electrical engineer. Seeing her talk about her career and being naturally curious inspired me to pursue a science career. My goal was to make an impact in the world and science was the way. So I went to The Pennsylvania State University with a full-ride (I got the Gates Millennium Scholarship) and I majored in toxicology. I had several research experiences and I enjoyed working in a laboratory. After I graduated I went to St. John's University to earn my master's degree in toxicology with the intention of being a vaccine researcher. After that, I realized that I wanted to support the next generation of scientists so I started Mademoiselle Scientist, a digital platform that has resources to help students and professionals. After writing and doing some consulting work for some time I realized that I am looking for a more hands-on approach to STEM outreach. This meant working with a program that supports students who are interested in STEM careers. Two people recommended the UMB CURE Scholars Program, which was a great fit because my mission is to support the next generation of scientists. Now, I am the College and Career Readiness Coordinator for a new program called the Career Navigators Program and the STEM Expo Manager. In addition, I am the Science Career Columnist for ASBMB, where I focus on careers outside of academia and industry. My roles give me the opportunity to create my own career pathway that intersects STEM, education, communication, and outreach to support the next generation of scientists.

I am currently exploring all of the possibilities! There are many opportunities out there and I am looking for ones that match my passions, skills, and purpose. As long as it meets that criteria I will consider it. I am grateful for my mentors and excited about my next steps!

I love taking walks, reading books, and trying new plant-based recipes. Also, I enjoy mentoring students who are interested in STEM careers and learning about science.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” By Marianne Williamson