DO IT! We need more representation and if you have a knack for STEM pursue it. The more women the better. Take an example from the movie Hidden Figures and find the hidden figures around you.

Who is Stephanie?

Hi! I am Stephanie, I am a 23-year-old cosmetic chemist that primarily works on developing new and innovative products for some of the top natural hair brands on the market. I am the youngest in my master’s graduating class


Educational Background

I’ve earned my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a Cosmetic Science concentration from the University of Cincinnati.


How did you choose to pursue this field?

I have always loved hair and science so when I discovered I could have a career that merged the two it was a no brainer.

What is your role in your current position?

In my current position, I ensure the quality of product batches in the lab and finished goods on the production floor.


How long have you been in your career field?

I have been employed in my current career field for two years.


Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field?

My mom has been my BIGGEST supporter throughout my educational journey. Growing up she never told me I shouldn’t pursue STEM because it is challenging and she connected me with women of color in the STEM field.

I didn’t have a role model to guide me to the field but since I have gotten in it, I have met some incredible women who I consider to be role models. Mrs. Carol Tonge-Mack at the University of Cincinnati has mentored me and guided me in the STEM field. Kelly Dobos who is a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, the owner of Vann Cosmetics who is a black female cosmetic chemist, and there are a few others.

Madam CJ Walker, and the many women scientists currently in my field. As well as my own experiences trying to understand my hair and how products work


What do you like most about your career?

The most rewarding aspect has been reaping the benefits of my hard work and making the village that raised me proud. It has also been amazing knowing that because I am confidently pursuing a STEM career, future girls who look like me will know they can too. Being able to create something that will directly benefit me and other women who look like me!

What has been most rewarding about your job?

I love the fact that I am learning about things I use every day and the science behind them. I also love that I will be able to educate others on the truth behind the chemicals in their skin and hair care products. My favorite course so far has been Hair Care Science because it taught the basics of hair and basic chemistry of hair care products. Knowing that I am helping women take care of their hair and that what I create is on the shelves all over the world.


What have you found to be the most difficult for your education/career?

The most difficult for me was transferring to a different school and trying to navigate my way while taking some of the hardest classes of my college career.

If you could change anything about your education or career, what would it be?

If I could change something about my educational journey, I would have first been more involved in my school. When I transferred universities after my freshman year I had to start all over at a new school where I didn’t know anyone and it made it more difficult to be involved. I also would have gone to the University of Toledo and obtained a BS in Cosmetic Science from there had I had known more about the program. Having a BS in a broad concentration while also pursuing my MS might turn out to be more advantageous for me especially since I am currently gaining field experience while I am in school.  I would also like to see more Black women represented in the field.

What advice do you have for young girls?

Find someone currently doing your “dream job” that looks like you or to whom you can relate. They will be able to guide you through the process and they will be someone you can turn to when you feel like your goals are unattainable.


What do you think is the biggest stigma for young girls?

I have combatted the stigma by having examples around me that have been successful women of color in the STEM field. I attended minority STEM programs when I was younger, met WOC doctors, scientists, architects, and more during my childhood, joining the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in college, and connected with other WOC my age pursuing STEM. These things helped me know what is attainable so I don’t feel like it’s something I can’t or shouldn’t pursue.


How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?

I embrace it. Me being a black woman is a huge advantage in my career. I understand what we want for our hair which allows me to be a better chemist

What tips would you give about your career field?

DO IT! We need more representation and if you have a knack for STEM pursue it. The more women the better. Take an example from the movie Hidden Figures and find the hidden figures around you.

NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK!!! Get your foot in the door at a company and connect with someone who is in the position you want


Words of Wisdom

DO IT!!! It’s challenging but so rewarding. When it gets tough, remember why you started and the impact your journey will have on others. Find other women in STEM careers to follow and connect with.

What is your favorite Quote? How do you apply this to your life?


You can’t be what you can’t see”

I know that by me being in this position, future young girls will see they can do it too. I grew up seeing women in STEM so it was never something I thought I couldn’t do.

What are your future goals?

My goals are to become a hair product formulator. Alongside that, I want to be a public educator on hair and skincare, and possibly be a consultant/ freelance formulator for people who are interested in starting their own cosmetic business.

How has your family influenced your journey and provided support?

My family never put limits on me and always encouraged me being smart and for that I am grateful

Contact Stephanie:

Instagram: @stephthechemist




We hope you enjoyed learning about our latest “STEMsation”, please comment about how her experiences have inspired you, how your experiences can inspire others and nominate our next “STEMsation to spotlight their amazing accomplishments.

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