Dr. Shenell Tolson is a cell and molecular biologist who earned her undergraduate degrees (BS, Biology [and] Biology, Biochemistry, & Bioinformatics (MB3)) from Towson University and graduate degrees (MS, Science Ed (Molecular Biology); and DrPH (Doctor of Public Health), Epidemiology/Global Health) from Morgan State University. She works in human health and toxicology; where she assesses the systemic effects of various compounds on humans and the environment. Additionally, her passion for introducing kids to STEM concepts led her to author the children's book "Noa the Little Scientist." She is also an entrepreneur and started her own business called "Simply Chocolate."
*Written in her own words*
I am a cell and molecular biologist. I earned my undergraduate degrees (BS, Biology [and] Biochemistry, & Bioinformatics (MB3)) from Towson University and my graduate degrees (MS, Science Ed. (Molecular Biology); and DrPH (Doctor of Public Health), Epidemiology/Global Health) from Morgan State University. A public health degree can be multi-faceted. I have chosen the global health route. This means that my focus is not just my local community. I am also interested in using my science background to decrease incidence rates of diseases and other health disparities around the world.
I currently work as a Biologist in Human Health and Environmental Toxicology assessment. An average day for me is reading toxicology studies, referencing scientific journal articles, and preparing risk assessment documents. Having such a diverse science background has been a major contributor to how my public health work is informed. This is especially handy when it comes to topics like social & environmental justice issues and health disparities. It has shaped my ability to fully understand and explain the implications of certain studies when it comes to health outcomes. This is also extremely helpful when I need to brief others of these implications when they do not have a strong science background.
I am also passionate about engaging children in STEM concepts. I authored a children’s book, “Noa the Little Scientist.” It is a book for the early reader (K-3) and great for the classroom or for practicing reading skills at home. It is a child’s first chapter book and has no pictures, so it promotes both literacy and use of the imagination. There is an experiment in the back with guided inquiry questions, which are also good for in the classroom and practicing science skills at home. Noa The Little Scientist is available in paperback and e-reader formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
As a science communicator, I utilize my STEM background to educate/explain/inform the diaspora with respect to #HealthLiteracy and improve health outcomes. You can follow me on Instagram @thepubichealthbae, on Twitter @G_Protein, and now on Tik Tok as @ToxNTea. You can also catch me on Sundays at 8:08pm EST as a co-host on “The STEMbassy,” where STEM ambassadors meet. The World Health Organization says, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” There are numerous confounders that contribute to the current health disparities affecting the diaspora. I try to highlight these confounders in my #SciComm to bridge the gaps. When travel restrictions are lifted, I am looking forward to going global again with my other public health ambitions.
Currently, I am working on round two of a community project called, “Let’s Grow Together,” where I demonstrate how food desert communities can grow their own food in small spaces without needing access to large plots of land. Last growing season, I demonstrated to my community of followers, the step-by-step process of growing various high-yield crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and melons from seed to harvest. We explored best practices for alternative pest control as well as saving seeds from our crop’s harvest for the next growing season (which is now this season). Living in a food desert is a serious public health issue and this project is one way that I have been able to communicate the possibility of taking control of individual and family dietary needs when healthy food choices are not available in your local community.
Last year, I started my own business, “Simplicity Chocolate!” We use ethically and sustainably sourced chocolate from Ghana to produce some of, if not THE BEST gourmet chocolate you have ever tasted!
Our original flavor offerings include 78% Dark Chocolate with sea salt, 78% Dark Chocolate with almonds, Mocha Chocolate, Mocha Chocolate with Almonds, and White Chocolate. We are now introducing two new flavor offerings to add to the collection, 78% Dark Chocolate with Toasted Coconut and Mocha Chocolate with Toasted Coconut. If you are a true chocolate lover and want to add a little gourmet to your life, check us out at www.thesimplicitychocolate.com.
You can find Dr Tolson at IG (@thepublichealthbae), Twitter (@G_Protein), Tik Tok (@ToxNTea)