Meet the WinRs: Olga Bolden-Tiller, PhD

Assistant Dean – College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University


What is your background/current position and what does it entail?

As one would imagine, my roles require quite a bit of administrative work working closely with faculty within my department and college to be successful in their roles, but I have chosen to continue to maintain a modest research program with PhD, MS and undergraduate students as well as teach each semester, in part to fulfill my passions for each, but also to ensure that my students have a role model for said roles.

What impact has being quarantined had on your daily activities and position? 

In actuality, it is allowed me to better maintain work-life balance, spending time with my family while maintaining my work duties...less travel has given me a new lease on life!

What strategies have you adopted in order to create a new "normal" for your daily activities and position?

Establishing an "office" and "office environment" at home has been a boon, allowing me to facilitate a more ideal work-life balance.  Similarly, having "school time" has helped tremendously to also allow for clearly defined "family time."

Have you gained any valuable lessons from being in quarantine?

The most valuable lesson that I have gained is the positive impact having more time with my family has had on me and my family.

What expectations have you had to let go or remove from your daily activities and position?

I believe that I have always been realistic about my expectations when it has come to my daily and activities and position and with the COVID-19 changes, I was realistic about the limitations of the world around me that resulted and I was able to plan and manage accordingly.

How have you stayed connected with friends and family during this time?

I have been able to stay connected with friends/family during this time while social distancing using technology more, including Zoom, which my family used to interact with my 96-year-old grandmother this spring when we annually gather and celebrate her birthday and Mother's Day...different, but still joyous.

What will you do differently once you return to your position?

I will make it a point to work to maintain the work-life balance that I have been able to cultivate during this period.  Over the years, my roles have not so much as shifted but accumulated over time, and this period has allowed me to reflect and re-evaluate some of my roles and allow for them to be under the direction of others as we move toward our new normal.

What are you most excited to do once the pandemic has cleared?

I admit I love to travel and do so regularly with my friends and family.  The uncertainty has certainly brought those activities to a halt and I look forward to resuming those activities.

How has being a woman in science affected your experiences and/or position during quarantine?

I believe that as a scientist, more so than a woman, I have been able to experience the pandemic with more clarity than many, as I understand the science behind the disease, thus, the resulting rules and regulations are more acceptable to me than others.  In my position, I was able to also provide support to my community by providing support to informationals, PPE, as well as making the media component of COVID-19 test kits to be used in rural and underserved communities plagued by lack of testing.

What words of inspiration would you like to share to other women in science and the future generation of women in science?

Be fearless, be faithful and be true!