Our founder, Adamaka Ajaelo (see bio below), fell in love with STEM early in her childhood. Some of her fondest memories include her father quizzing her and her siblings on math using candy. From those moments, she grew to love the interconnectedness between STEM and her everyday world. As she matriculated through school and transitioned into college, she became the only black woman in her math classes – and often the only person of color. Over time her support system disappeared, she faced discrimination and struggled with a lack of encouragement to pursue her STEM education.
As she entered the workforce, she learned that her experience of feeling discouraged, isolated and unsupported was all too common in her community. These painful experiences motivated her to start Self-eSTEM and provide young girls with the empowerment, resources and support to succeed, despite the resistance and rejection they are likely to face in STEM studies and careers.
With the amazing efforts of our Board of Directors, we hope to ensure more young girls and women from untapped communities enter and remain in the STEM industry.
Adamaka Ajaelo is a Oakland native, leader, innovator, and problem solver. She is radical, analytical, bold and fearless. She is the Founding Executive Director of Self-eSTEM, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable supply of underrepresented minority women leaders who are recognized as top talent and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The motivation to start her own nonprofit was driven by personal experiences of encountering resistance and adversity as she moved throughout the STEM pipeline from high school to college, and later into her career. She was tired of being the only one that looked like her in the classrooms and the meeting rooms. She believes fighting racial and gender injustices is a multi-faceted approach, and her fight is within the STEM industry.
As a Sr. Program Manager in Talent Data & Inisghts at Adobe, she works on providing data and insights to influence global workforce plans and talent development strategies. She has worked at top companies such as Facebook Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems, Workday and Visa in the areas of Finance, Workforce Planning & Analytics and Business Continuity. She is an entrepreneur with a proven talent for advancing women of color exposure and competence in STEM, and she is an Angel Investor at Pipeline Investors.
Adamaka received her B.A. in Mathematics from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA and her M.B.A. in Finance and Leadership-Management from Holy Names University in Oakland, CA. When she is not working, she enjoys attending Warriors basketball games, local wine tasting and trying new restaurants.