Charmaine Wilcox, CEO and Co-Founder of N.O.I.R.E. STEAM, creates a new path for the future of S.T.E.M.

By: Jakeira Gilbert, Digital Producer and Reporter 

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IMG_1687Entrepreneurship isn’t an easy three-step guide to success, but Charmaine Wilcox, CEO and Founder of N.O.I.R.E. STEAM, LLC is determined that her business will thrive. In the S.T.E.M. world, you must be innovative to create various opportunities of success and her program minorities who aspire to pursue research and science. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “S.T.E.M.,” it’s an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Unfortunately, today these four major fields still struggle with diversity and inclusion – but according to Wilcox, N.O.I.R.E. STEAM, LLC, was created to help eliminate this problem. 

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IMG_1118“N.O.I.R.E. STEAM, LLC, was founded in 2019 by myself and three other individuals. I noticed a need for a space that would allow underrepresented groups, specifically African American men and women, who are either working in or are interested in S.T.E.M. fields to connect, network, and give back to their communities. What started out as a small group of 15 individuals has now blossomed into a networking group of over 400 members across the country, in as little as 3 months. N.O.I.R.E STEAM, LLC will change the face of the S.T.E.M. industry one member and one event at a time.”

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N.O.I.R.E.’s target audience is young undergraduate students and young professionals in S.T.E.M. who are a part of an underrepresented group – for example, African Americans and women. 

IMG_1688N.O.I.R.E. is founded on five core principles that are vital to helping people of color in S.T.E.M. – networking, ownership, innovation, research, and elevation. Wilcox gives us a breakdown of the “N.O.I.R.E.” philosophy.

“If you lack the ability to effectively network, you will become stagnant, and a stagnant individual can not help anyone. Ownership is how you make your money. Owning your own products or company, and trademarking procedures and technologies that you develop are a necessity. We teach and stress the importance of ownership to every member. Innovation will usher in a new wave of STEM advances. Being innovative in your craft is a skill that must be learned and nurtured. Research is the backbone of STEM education. We work with our members, especially undergraduate members, to find ways to become involved in research. The final principle of N.O.I.R.E is elevate. We want each and every one of our members to not only use these tools to elevate themselves, but to elevate their communities. When we work hard to elevate our communities we are encouraging the children in these communities to strive for something more.”

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The program is also deeply rooted in the concept of mentorship. Not having diverse representation in her field of work was both emotionally and mentally draining for Wilcox, but despite her struggle, she vows to give others something she never had – enlightenment and guidance. 

“My experience as a person of color in STEM has been difficult. I have had self-doubt, procrastination issues, and I do not have a mentor in the STEM world to help guide me. I’ve had to bump my head several times, I’ve fallen and gotten back up. I will never give up on my love of STEM, medicine, or helping others. If I quit now, I know that I will be letting a little Black girl down in the future because she too will have the same battles that I have. Representation matters, and if I have to step up and be the face of STEM in the black community, I will.” 

Thinking big and branching out is also a part of Wilcox’s plan to step up. A huge goal that she has is to eventually create chapters on college campuses and in cities once N.O.I.R.E. has a more established infrastructure.

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Like many entrepreneurs, Wilcox also understands that stability of income can be a huge challenge in her line of business. Wilcox currently works as the STEM Education, Outreach, and Communications Coordinator for the Desert Research Institute Science Alive program, along with running N.O.I.R.E. STEAM, LLC.

“I have several fears as a new entrepreneur, like how will I be able to provide for my three-year-old child?” Wilcox said. 

Even though fear is common for many at some stage in life, Wilcox is also a firm believer in facing fear head on and ultimately overcoming it – with plans to make N.O.I.R.E. STEAM thrive through any circumstance. But Wilcox, also has a call-to-action for other STEM professionals: 

“The STEM field needs to diversify. That’s what it needs to grow and expand. More women, and people of color need to be introduced to the world of STEM, so that they too can realize that there is a place for them in this world. Without the work of women or people of color we wouldn’t know the structure of DNA, have traffic lights, or maxi pads. When the voices of these groups are shut out, the entire world, not just the scientific world, suffers.” 

Follow this CEO Now: Instagram: @noiresteam | Facebook: NOIRE STEAM, LLC

Followers can expect to see a lot of growth within N.O.I.R.E. STEAM in the near future, with several conferences and events lined up for students within the next few months, including STEAM Connect conferences in Atlanta, Georgia, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

This summer, N.O.I.R.E. will also host mini day camp style stem events that will allow the children in the Las Vegas community to become inspired by STEM. More details will be posted online in April of 2020 – so be on the lookout! 

Question and Answer Segment 

What are some upcoming projects that N.O.I.R.E. followers need to be on the lookout for? 

STEMFest 2021 – An all encompassing conference that focuses on making all attendees authentically N.O.I.R.E will be held in July of 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada

N.O.I.R.E STEAM, LLC presents STEAM Connect with the first event happening in Atlanta, Georgia in March of 2020, and the second happening in April of 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. All flyers and information for these events will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

This summer N.O.I.R.E will host mini day camp style stem events that will allow the children in the Las Vegas community to become inspired by STEM. More details will be posted online in April of 2020. 

What’s the day-to-day process of running a business? 

Every morning, I wake up and prepare for the day by getting myself and my 3-year-old daughter ready for the day. We try to get out of the house no later than 7:30 am to get my daughter to school and myself to UNLV’s campus. Once I am done with classes on campus, I drive over to the Desert Research Institute to start my workday. After a day usually filled with meetings, planning events, student engagement, and social media planning, I begin work for N.O.I.R.E. Everyday I spend time perfecting the brand of N.O.I.R.E or making connections with the community. From meetings, to phone calls, to work on social media work is never done when it comes to N.O.I.R.E. Throughout the day I am in constant contact with Undergraduate Fellows, members of our N.O.I.R.E STEAM Pro group, and members of the POC in STEM group chats. I manage contact with over 500 people per day. Once I am home for the evening, I put the electronics away and I spend time with my daughter and family, and then it’s off to bed. 


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