Professional Mentors


Darlene Taylor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
North Carolina Central University
Dr. Darlene K. Taylor – North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina – polymer physical chemist, researching structure-property relationships of materials. Dr. Taylor is focused on designing polymers for two areas of interest. One is new drug delivery strategies to treat diseases related to women’s health. She is accomplishing this goal by designing temperature sensitive, multifunctional, biodegradable nanoparticles for local delivery or targeted intracellular delivery. Dr. Taylor’s other research interest is new approaches to designing organic membranes for solar cell devices.  Her research in this area focuses on hybrid organic/inorganic structures that could lead to the next generation of efficient organic based solar cells.

Dr. Taylor is a native of Burlington, North Carolina. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Goucher College. Dr. Taylor simultaneously worked on her Master’s degree course work at North Carolina A&T State University while a Scholar in Residence at Rohm and Haas Company in Norristown, PA. She then went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked on Electronic Coupling Mechanisms in Cyclophane Biradicals before conducting her doctoral research in Polymer Physical Chemistry. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Taylor worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UNC‐Chapel Hill on the design and characterization of polymer materials for novel applications. Dr. Taylor joined the North Carolina Central faculty as an Assistant Professor in Chemistry in 2005.

Dr. Taylor participates in the student chapter of the American Chemical Soceity, the local chapter of the Women Chemists Committee, and is active with the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.


Antoinette Saunders
B.S. Chemical Engineering

Hello Ladies, my name is Toni Saunders.  I was born in Naples, Italy and lived several different places before starting school because my father was in the Navy and we moved a lot.  I grew up in St. Louis, MO and lived there until I graduated college.  As a young girl I enjoyed reading, acting, singing, and solving puzzles.  I did gymnastics for a little while as a young girl and then moved on to soccer, which I played for 3 years. My favorite subjects in school were Science and Math.  

 I was very active in both Junior High and High School and quickly learned that you never really know what you are going to like until you try it.  I won $1000 in an oratorical contest when I was 13.  Before then, I did not like public speaking.  I directed the choir at my church.  I was in the drama club, math club, gospel choir, show choir, National Honor Society, Hi-STEP, INROADS, and I played volleyball.  In high school I decided that I wanted to be a chemical engineer because of a combination of experiences with my wonderful chemistry teacher, math club competitions, and helpful insight from INROADS. 

I received my Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis where I continued active participation in organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers and the gospel choir.    

I currently work as an Engineer for a semiconductor company.  My job is to help companies to get products from prototype into production.  Their products eventually go into cell phones, computers, portable gaming devices, cars, and other electronic devices that we all use in our every day lives.  Working with customers, I get to use the public speaking and puzzle/problem solving skills I started developing many years ago.

I am a mother of two.  I still enjoy reading, singing and solving puzzles.  I like all kinds of music and I really enjoy working with young people.  I am an extroverted, inquisitive, positive person who loves learning new things and taking on new challenges.  Everyday is an opportunity to learn and grow.


Fonda Daniels, Ph.D.
Patent Engineer
SAS Legal Division

Ravanasamudram Uma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Math & Computer Science
North Carolina Central University
Are you interested in becoming a professional mentor for the Women Inspiring Learning Momentum Program? Would you like to help us make a difference? We need people like you to donate time, energy, and experience and serve as a mentor for our middle school students. Together, we will be able to impact the lives of these young individuals. Contact us today!