Valencia Belle


Valencia Belle

Author of "The Seven Women Every Woman Should Know", Valencia Belle is a Scientist and Entrepreneur who has spent her career helping to shape young minds by opening up the possibilities of “STEM” careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  

A native of Mobile, Alabama and a true scholar-athlete at heart, she began running track and field at the age of 5.  At the age of 12, as an entering high school freshman, she began her first fee-for-service tutorial business assisting fellow students with ACT Prep in Science and Math.  While attending Murphy High School, Valencia thrived in sports, in civic service and in Science and Engineering.  She was chosen as the Alabama SECME and one of 7 NACME Scholars in the country, as the Bryant Jordan Region VI Scholar –Athlete Award Winner, as an Azalea Trail Maid (Yellow), as Varsity Track Team Captain and as the Homecoming Queen - all while competing as a Team USA TAC Junior Olympian at the age of 16.

Valencia received her first Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Alabama, where she majored in Biology.  There, she was a member of Freshman Forum, the Student Government Association and the Elliot Society.  She served as the Variety Director for University Programs and as a charter member and Secretary of the XXXI Women’s Honorary.  She would make the Dean’s and the President’s Lists.  She was also 2ndRunner-up and Miss Congeniality in the Miss Alabama USA Pageant.  Valencia not only was chosen as a Distinguished University Graduate, receiving the Bloom Award, one of the top three University honors given for improving inter-faith and inter-group relations, but was also honored as one of the University’s first minority IRBP Summer Fellows at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Laboratory of Infectious Diseases for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  

Although less than 1% of all NIH researchers are women and/or persons of color, Valencia was awarded an IRTA Fellowship with the National Institutes of Health upon graduation from the University of Alabama.  Her research focus was on the “Simian Immunodeficiency Virus,” or SIV, in a special breed of monkey and how this virus was connected to HIV in humans.  Her research team led by Dr. Vanessa Hirsch helped advance the development of genetic mapping for anti-viral medications and vaccinations now made available world-wide to help those suffering with HIV. To increase access to high quality, cost effective healthcare and foster better interdisciplinary communication for positive patient outcomes, she developed a holistic, fully integrated, family system based healthcare model called “NAMES”.  This would lead to Valencia receiving coveted Research Awards from both the National Cancer Institute and the Pediatric AIDS Foundation for the community health and educational outreach initiatives she began in minority and rural communities in the greater Washington DC Metro area, Maryland and Virginia.  

Valencia would go on to complete a second Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master’s Degree in Family Studies and Systems Integration from the University of Maryland. Her research would eventually focus on the achievement motivation of African- American girls seeking “STEM” healthcare careers.  At the VCU School of Nursing, she was awarded the Johnson and Johnson Breakthrough to Nursing National Award, the Mary Marshall Virginia Department of Health Award and was named the School of Nursing’s “Black History in the Making” Award Recipient.  At Maryland, she earned induction into Phi Delta Kappa International Education Honor Society.  Her work would take her abroad, to the Dutch West Indies, to research the different barriers and lack of educational opportunities for minority girls internationally who dreamed of attaining “STEM” healthcare careers within the US.  Her work in the Dutch West Indies led to her being chosen to work at Duke University Hospital and assist with efforts for the Duke Global Health Initiatives through the Duke School of Nursing, where she was chosen as a State Finalist for the Albert Schweitzer Award.

Today, Valencia is once again based in Mobile, Alabama as a Scientist and Entrepreneur.  She is the principal research consultant and owner of the Obsidian Consulting Group, which focuses on enhancing educational opportunities for minority girls seeking careers in Healthcare, Science or Engineering.  In 2009, Valencia spearheaded the Edith Mitchell Health Initiative (EMHI) in honor of her late grandmother who founded the first nursing program for African Americans in Mobile Alabama at Carver State Technical College, which is now the School of Nursing at Bishop State Community College. Since its inception, the EMHI has awarded over 30 scholarships to deserving minority and female students seeking “STEM” healthcare careers at Bishop State and Tuskegee University. Volunteers from the EMHI’s Nursing Academy of Achievers have given over 1,000 hours of free Nursing coursework and NCLEX tutoring for students enrolled in Nursing programs, have offered over 2,000 hours of complimentary ACT, Math and Science tutoring to aspiring high school students and have manned over 20 healthcare screenings servicing more than 4,800 clients through capacity building and community partnerships.  

In 2015, after 26 years, Valencia reunited with her first professional African American female STEM mentor, Dr. Latitia McCane, Academic Dean of Bishop State, to launch a powerful educational pipeline that occasioned the following four initiatives in just one year: 1) the Mobile, ALabama launching of the S.C.H.O.O.L.S Program (Success Can Happen Out Of Low Scores) Academic Enrichment and Supplemental Education Services Company, which offered ACT Prep, STEM tutoring and “wrap-around” educational coaching services to advance graduation rates and college entrance, 2) the creation of the JEM Scholars Program (Jumpstart to English and Math), which offered Dual Enrollment to eradicate the need of remedial collegiate courses pre-admission while making college affordable through the completion of college credit during high school, 3) the initiation of the GOOGLE [X] Diabetes / Life Sciences Division Research Study, where Valencia, as a member of the research team, offered minority participants state of the art biotechnology in the control and management of diabetes, and most recently, 4) the opening of the LSHSC (Leflore Student Health Services Clinic), which offered high quality, cost effective healthcare free of charge to students in a clinic run and manned by STEM healthcare degree seeking minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds.