By Susan Hitchcock
Founder & Host Emerita of Women in Leadership
In 2020 as part of Atlanta’s Women in Technology’s (WIT) annual awards program, Dr. Bolding was selected from a field of outstanding nominees to “wear the crown” of Woman of the Year in Science. Adding to this honor, WIT invited Dr. Bolding to serve as a judge for 2021 to help select and honor the next WOTY in Science – from one SHEro role model to another.
Once you get to know her, you realize just how appropriate and well deserved this honor truly is. Why? Because Dr. Bolding (she’s also good with Gladys among friends) is a wonderful example of humility and confidence, respect and responsibility, courage and empathy as well as unequivocal integrity.
Clearly Dr. Bolding/Gladys is well “credentialed” including a Master of Science in Molecular Cell & Physiology from Georgia State (GSU) and a Ph.D. in Curriculum Development/Instruction from Capella University.
From a career standpoint she’s Founder/CEO of BioLogue Laboratoruim INC, a full-time lecturer in higher education, a science curriculum developer/trainer, an international science presenter and a philanthropist. In the near future Gladys will add another career achievement to her resume: science textbook author – an e-book on cell biology and genetics!
Born in Harlem, New York, to a single mother, young Gladys was always surrounded and encouraged by not only her mom, but a large extended family with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. Her mother aspired to become a nurse and this accomplishment inspired Gladys, as did the multicultural experiences she had growing up in the Bronx, in Co-Op City, where she moved at the age of nine. “One of my best memories is the connectedness and diversity of that community. I also remember and value the responsibility that my family gave me even at a young age. They often entrusted me to look after my younger cousins who looked up to me then and even today as both a teacher and a leader.”
Continuous learning, being responsible and helping others to explore and understand science have turned into a lifelong passion for Gladys. That passion has defined and guided her professional life.
A heart and head for science instruction
Dr. Bolding / Gladys began her career managing laboratory assets at Georgia Perimeter College which later became a part of GSU. At first her students were predominantly Caucasian. When she became a full time lab instructor, she helped recruit and identify more diverse students, especially people of color. “I’m a big believer,” she said, “that early intervention is key to engaging students in the STEM field. One of my favorite memories is getting microscopes for my students who had little to no access to this type of equipment. Seeing the spark created and having students realize they have options makes all the difference!”
Dr. Bolding founded the BioLogue Laboratorium Inc. in 2011 to teach students from 5 years old to college age. Located in Lithonia but currently continuing online, this program has helped hundreds of students through weekly lab sessions. “And by partnering with other organizations, BLI has been able to find internships and even jobs for students in the STEM field.”
Challenges along the way and the importance of representation
“One of the best things about winning the WIT WOTY award was the feeling of validation and even redemption,” Dr. Bolding said. She went on to share some of the obstacles she’d faced in her professional journey and in the workplace, e.g., not being accepted and feeling disenfranchised. But despite times when she felt like giving in or giving up, she never did. She persevered.
“I understand from my own experience just how important representation is. To see others who look like you and have a similar background inspires you. Not having mentors or role models, especially people of color, can be discouraging and even defeating. That’s why I do what I do and try to educate and inspire the next generation of young girls and women, as well as young males.”
Giving back and creating a legacy
Among her many community and volunteer contributions is partnering with a group in Tanzania and donating microscopes for teachers there. She also served as a delegate with the Georgia Council for International Visitors, an opportunity through the American Business Women’s Association supporting cross cultural experiences. Dr. Bolding has also been a science lab consultant; served on numerous panels; presented at STEM conferences; and participated on a student scholarship selection committee.
Going forward, it seems that Dr. Bolding’s newest role, i.e., science textbook author, the e-book that comes out in January, 2022, will definitely be a part of her legacy. That legacy is one of inclusivity – ensuring that some who have not been included before will no longer be omitted from history for their contributions and achievements. And that is an excellent reason why Dr. Bolding is a SHEro in science and in life.
Interview and profile by:
Founder of the “Age of SHEroes”