Baindu Bayon has spent the past six years researching Alzheimer’s while completing her Ph.D. in Medical and Molecular Genetics from the Indiana University School of Medicine, yet she still finds time in her busy life to give back to the community. Her charitable way of living stems from her parents, who are immigrants from Sierra Leone.
“All of our extended family reside in Sierra Leone,” Bayon said. “So my parents, as the sole U.S. residents, had to take care of a lot of people. From a young age I saw them provide for people and that it was just something that you just did, naturally. My parents exposed us to helping others whenever we could, whether through volunteering or just sharing your resources.”
While a young girl, her parents founded a nonprofit called the Organization of Sierra Leoneans in Indiana. The organization fundraises for causes affecting the citizens of Sierra Leone, such as the Ebola virus and the clean water crisis. Bayon is a member and even managed their social media presence.
While working toward her Ph.D., Bayon also volunteered and was a guest teacher through the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. Students who are part of the organization receive tours of the labs on campus, and can join summer programs where they learn about a different health profession each week.
In addition, every Saturday Bayon spends her day mentoring students through the 100 Black Men of Indianapolis Financial Literacy Program.
“This is my third year being involved with the program and seeing it grow,” Bayon said. “I’ve seen kids go from being very shy to being able to talk in front of finance giants in Indianapolis. It’s just amazing to see. They build up a confidence in being able to talk about something that most kids their age can’t talk about.”
Bayon is also on the board of Adult & Child Health, an organization whose mission is to make mental health services available to everyone, and TechIndy School of Science & Engineering, a proposed public charter high school. Other organizations Bayon is involved with include the Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League and the Midwest African Chamber of Commerce.
Bayon was recently awarded IBJ’s Forty under 40 and was a finalist for the Indy’s Best & Brightest Award. Indianapolis is lucky to have someone so passionate championing for so many!