Updated: Jan 5, 2019
In the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the number of men represented in the industry has never been questioned. However, if we look at the industry from the lens of minority men actively in STEM careers, therein lies a different narrative. Like women, black men with STEM-related jobs are drastically underrepresented. Whites Americans represent 71% of all STEM careers and Asians, 15%. African Americans represent only 6% percent of the industry today.
Despite the discouraging statistics, Florida Native Marcus Bolden defied those odds. In fact, Marcus defied almost every obstacle in his path to get where he is today.
The Stature brand has committed to highlighting African American men who uphold admirable qualities and live a life that is consistent with our mission; to change the narrative of what it means to be perceived as a black man in today’s society. Marcus lives and breathes what it means to be a man of stature. At the core, he is a man grounded in faith, an athlete and an intellect. He’s passionate, driven and places a high value on the relationships around him. He is a man cut from the cloth of your word being bond!
“When I say I’m going to do something, I try my best to do it. I told my fiance Maria the other day, one of the things that I got from my mother is that I deeply care. I go out of the way for the people around me to make them better. Always trying to help”
Marcus was born in San Diego. However, his father was in the military , so he and his family moved around quit a bit while he was young. After they left San Diego, the moved to Guam and eventually landing in Florida. Marcus, grew up 90 miles from Cuba, in Key West, Florida. He recalls his birthplace a community of athletes. “Although I was located in South Florida, we didn’t get the shine like other parts of the state. The blessing in that was it made me work really hard to get out. My parents raised me to work hard, be studious and focused. I encountered a ton of racism growing up from the whites and older Cubans who resided in the Keys. I knew from an early age there was more outside the city for me.”
Marcus left the Keys to pursue his education in upstate Florida at Tallahassee. That move was hugely credited to his high school football coach, Coach James and track coach, Coach Perkins who pushed him to train hard with a goal of landing a scholarship. While on an HBCU college tour he fell in love with Florida A&M from the moment he first stepped on the campus. It was coach James’s push and the fact he was an alumna of Florida A&M what hugely credited Marcus’s decision to enroll there.
“I knew this is where I wanted to be. Reflecting back, it was the best experience of my life” Marcus received a track scholarship at FAMU. After the first two years of running for the Rattlers, I wanted to transfer to Florida State. After all of the coaching, I had to move on. It was a tough decision but it was something I needed to do.
“ When I transferred to FSU track it was a new beginning and it felt right to be on the track there. It felt like home and I really appreciated Coach Ken Harnden for the opportunity to run. My biggest races at FSU were the Sprint medley and 4x400 relays where I ran splits as low as 0.46”
Not only was Marcus crushing it on the track, he stayed focused in the classroom as well. At Florida State, he majored in Engineering.
What drew you to Math and Science
Marcus: Growing up my worst subject was math I would put in extra time just to understand theories and concepts so that I could earn good grades in the subject. I loved science growing up and initially I wanted to be an archaeologist. However, my father was like this is Engineering. He introduced me to the field. I got a lot of that from him. He helped me figure out what I wanted to do. From there I just made sure that I put in the work so that I could compete in the classroom.
How did you balance being a student-athlete while studying engineering?
Marcus: Being a student athlete that does track and field and studying to be an Engineer took a lot of work man. My finance Maria told me the other night, she thought I was superman in college because of everything I took on. I partied, studied and ran track”
When did you meet your fiance Maria
I met Maria my sophomore year at FAMU, but we didn't start dating until the beginning of my senior year. FSU and FAMU both share the same engineering building so we both took the same courses and were involved in similar organizations. We were all mixed in there. After graduation, Maria got a job in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and I got a job an hour away in Manitou,WI. I was a manufacturing engineer, building the assembly construction for construction cranes. We went from Oshkosh to Munster, Indiana. I taught Maria how to drive and we literally lived down the street from her job there. The following year we both moved to Chicago where I landed a job as an industrial engineer at Ford Motor Company.
Once you arrived in Chicago, did you feel like the pieces of your life were falling in place?
Marcus: I did! I was so excited to be working for Ford as an engineer in a city like Chicago. I truly loved my time living there.
After two years in Chicago, you got an amazing opportunity to work for a startup in LA. Tell me more about that.
Marcus: While in HS, it was always my dream to live in LA. My thing is to speak it into existence. Every other day I would say to Maria, we will eventually move to LA. My current employer reached out to me on LinkedIn. I entertained the message and interviewed. I was a little skeptical initially because they didn't have a legit web page. Before taking the interview in LA I had just proposed to Maria. After my interview, I told Maria how excited I was and she felt my energy. She knew then we were moving west.I really appreciate Maria because she sacrificed so much for me to pursue my dream.
Looking back, what was your biggest challenge in life:
Marcus: Making the adjustment from being a collegiate athlete with a ton of structure and tight schedules to figuring it out on my own was the biggest challenge for me. As an athlete, your schedule is pretty much given to you. I didn't have that routine until recently after moving to LA.
Right now I consider myself to be very focused. I’ve found my routine again. I started my 2017 goals in November 2016. I do yoga and cook breakfast every morning. Discipline - even when you don’t want to you have to push through
Who has been the most influential person?
Marcus My mother. She’s one of the most caring people I know. She has so much good energy. She’s been there help me through my whole. I feel like I have much more to accomplish because I want to make sure shes good
What keeps you motivated ?
Marcus: I’m motivated by my relationships. Maria is the one person that I look to give it to me straight and doesn't sugar coat anything. She’s changed me for the better. She has such a good vision.
What’s your favorite city ?
My favorite city is Los Angeles. But I have three favorite cities. I would love to live in Chicago and DC. When I went to DC I fell in love with the blackness of the city. I connect with a lot of people from DC.
What’s your favorite item you own ?
My favorite item is a Nike therma sphere jacket. I won it at a Nike train LA event because I won a workout competition in Manhattan Beach, Ca.
One word to describe you:
What does Stature mean to you?
Stature means confidence to me.