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The Research Her

The Research Her is a weekly science communication podcast for us that provides reliable and relatable topics from how hair products affect health to the effects of Instagram on mental health. It encourages improvement of the disproportionate amount of research focused on minorities. Host Elissia Franklin is a black woman in chemistry who shares the woes and rewards in her field while learning of research in many areas.

Sep 28, 2020

Raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Malika Grayson (@drmalikagrayson) is a STEM speaker, engineer, and author who has her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University where she became the 2nd black woman in Cornell’s history (and 1st Black American) to receive her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. She is inspired by another great sister of ours Dr. Jedidah Islah.


On this episode, we discuss

  • How Dr. Grayson's got started on her book Hooded: A Black Girl's Guide to the Ph.D.
  • The origin of her blog Black Girls Guide to Grad School being on outlet for the trauma experienced while working on her Ph.D.
  • Her experience leading students for the first time and feeling intimidated.
  • Being supported by Black women and men as she transitioned into her small university.



Dr. Grayson also leaves us with these three tips to guide us through grad school:


  1. Leverage your undergraduate experience or take undergraduate courses
  2. Get a study group that you can depend on
  3. Find a mentor who does not look like you


Listen for more about Dr. Malika Grayson


Dr. Malika Grayson's Book: Hooded: A Black Girl's Guide to the Ph.D.


More about Dr. Malika Grayson


As an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Alumna Scholar, Dr. Grayson has been the recipient of many awards including the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award, National Society of Black Engineers – Mike Shin Award for Distinguished Member of the Year, Adelphi University’s Top 10 Alumni Under 10 and BEYA STEM’s Modern Day Technology Leader. Since her Ph.D., Malika has been working in the defense industry as a systems engineer and most recently, an application portfolio manager.


Malika is a STEM advocate and is passionate about increasing the number of minority women who pursue advanced degrees. Her passion can be seen through her blog (@blackgirlsguide2gradschool) where she reviews personal statements and scholarship essays free of charge. She has reviewed over 100 essays and has mentored a number of women through the essay writing process.


Through her LLC Steminist Empowered, she has shared her journey as a black woman in STEM on a number of platforms and collaborates frequently with universities to speak on topics including Impostor Syndrome, Activating Your Network, and Mentor/Sponsor Relationships. Malika is also a 40 Under 40 Youth Influencer in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago for her work in STEM. Her graduate school experiences are further highlighted in her book ‘HOODED: A Black Girl’s Guide to the Ph.D.’ launched September 30th


Connect with her



Instagram: @drmalikagrayson

Twitter: @BGG2gradschool

LinkedIn: MalikaGrayson


Connect with me


TikTok: @TheResearchHer

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Twitter: @TheResearchHer

Facebook: @TheResearchHer