Inspired By Excellence & Innovation

Our mission is to increase the presence of underrepresented Black and Latinx/Hispanic youth at NYC’s specialized high schools and in future STEM careers by providing support, exposure, mentoring, and scholarships for mostly Black and Latinx/Hispanic students in Harlem, NYC.

our leadership

Meet our Founder

As an alumna of the Bronx High School of Science, a native Harlemite, and a Black woman, I created Harlem STEM Up! to help ensure more STEM educational and career-path opportunities for as many Black and Latinx/Hispanic youth in the Harlem, NYC area as possible. As a board-certified OB/GYN physician and former medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), my path was rooted in my ability to attend Bronx Science for high school, followed by Georgetown University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

My path (and the paths of my friends in Harlem) to the Bronx High School of Science did not include a test prep course. But we were there at Bronx Science in far greater numbers during the 1980s – 1990s than what we see being reported in recent local and national news stories. Recent data continues to show that the “Number of Black and Latino Students Admitted to NYC Specialized (STEM) High Schools Falls to Lowest Level in 3 Years” (www.gothamist.com; 4/29/2021). Other reports show that key factors for Black and Latinx students not accessing the currently required specialized high school admissions test (SHSAT) are: 1-differential access to high quality in many neighborhoods that are disproportionately Black and Hispanic/Latinx, and 2-unequal access to SHSAT test awareness and preparation support.

Harlem STEM Up! seeks to help close these gaps by providing STEM-focused support, exposure, educational services, mentoring, and scholarships to students to increase opportunities and level the playing field for STEM-focused high school access and future career paths. My partners and I know that it’s possible, as we are all also native Harlemites and alumni of the Bronx High School of Science who went on to pursue STEM careers. We look forward to working with you as part of Harlem STEM Up. Let’s go!

—  Madeline Y. Sutton, MD, MPH

our team

Meet Our Board/Partnership Team

Please click on the photos to learn more.

TroyXavier Leonard

I have been a school psychologist and psychotherapist for over 25 years, mostly within the Los Angeles County School District. I worked with G.L.A.S.S. (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services) for 14 years until 2009 and has long been an advocate for youth.  I am currently completing my doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership at the LA campus of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  In 2015, I was honored to become the 66th President of the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP). I continue to explore and create opportunities to use my skillset for the betterment of individuals, families, and the larger community, and I am especially passionate about supporting young people who are interested in STEM careers. As a native Harlemite and alumnus of the Bronx High School of Science, I am excited to help ensure opportunities for our newest generation of STEM leaders.

Patricia J. Sylvain

I am a first-generation Haitian-American, native Harlemite, a retired US Army Major with twenty years of military service, and an Information Technology professional with over thirty years of experience.  I understand the importance of representation in STEM-related fields.  I often found myself as “the only” African-American woman on IT teams since it was considered a male-dominated occupation. I believe that my education at Bronx Science was crucial to my success in IT.  So it’s important for me to “pay it forward” to ensure that other students with backgrounds similar to mine have the same opportunities.

Janet M. Colds, BSN, RN-BC

I have worked as a registered nurse for over 25 years; I am passionate about helping others and about finding solutions for health disparities. I’ve worked in Women’s Health for over 23 years, in High-Risk OB, Postpartum, and Newborn Care. I advocate for maternal and child health whenever possible and am especially dedicated to increasing awareness around peripartum mental health issues. I co-founded Black Nurses Corner, a health educational social media resource for the lay public. I am also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. As a native Harlemite and Bronx High School of Science alumna, I know firsthand the importance of a specialized high school environment. I’m excited to serve our Harlem young people as they consider different STEM educational opportunities and charter their own paths.

Greg Gist

I have been an IT professional for over 30 years. Currently, I work with clients focusing on cloud, information security, business process risk, and resilience planning. Previously, I spent 23 Years at Citi in various roles and activities, including information security, technology audit, and compliance. Recognized as a financial-sector subject matter expert on infectious-disease resilience, I have also presented at numerous conferences to C-level executives, corporate boards, international regulators, and central banks. As an alumnus of Bronx Science and a native Harlemite, I am honored to support our mission of increased diversity and inclusion for STEM pathways for young people.

Robert Lowery

I am a native Harlemite and alumnus of the Bronx High School of Science. I love the networking and opportunities this educational foundation provided to me. I trained as an engineer at Drexel University after graduating from high school, and I enjoy working in various areas workspaces as an engineer. I am so ready to pay it forward by supporting this next generation of STEM-focused youth!

Darin Gilstrap, ScM

I am a STEM educator and clinician with over 30 years of experience across academic, clinical, and business healthcare sectors. I’ve most enjoyed working directly with students who are pursuing careers as physician assistants and in other medical fields. I have over 20 years of clinical bedside experience as a medical-surgical first assistant and 15 years of adjunct professor premedical, mid-level, and allopathic sciences experience. Most recently, I enjoy helping to improve health literacy by creating digital platforms for improved delivery of health information to communities who may lack some technology access and be most affected by health disparities. As a native Harlemite and Bronx Science alum, I’m looking forward to sharing the opportunities made possible for STEM health information technology with current students.