1. TELL ME WHEN YOU FIRST FELL IN LOVE WITH SCIENCE.
I was enrolled at Heyward Career Center in the Personal Training program and as a part of our senior project, you were to complete an internship at a place of your choosing. I interned at Drayer Physical Therapy institute. I originally wanted to be an Athletic Trainer but coming into this world I found that there was much more I could do and much more I could see as a physical therapist. Learning how the body can literally heal itself was amazing to me and I wanted to know more.
2. WHO IS YOUR SCIENTIFIC SHE-ROE?
Hidden Figure, NASA Mathematician, Katherine Johnson. It was amazing to find out that one of the biggest moments of history was all because of HERstory. She had reached new heights, broken chains, and stood up for herself which resulted into these United States to be able to literally look beyond the stars! A black woman accomplished that! It was very sad to hear of her recent passing, it was my dream to meet her. A true legend.
3. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PARTICULAR FIELD OF STEM THAT YOU ARE IN?
Since high school I had decided that I wanted to be a physical therapist, but after arriving to Claflin and becoming apart of research I saw it in a new way. As a physical therapist you assess and progress but you are not the person that came up with the techniques being administered. Learning that I could combine the practice and clinical research I decided that I wanted to be the one who created the idea and not only promoted it.
4. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR GREATEST PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT.
In 2019, I was awarded as the Louis-Stokes South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation Oral Blitz winner in Epidemiology and Bioinformatics and First-Place in Poster presentations at South Carolina State University. I was also awarded as the Ernest Everett Just Symposium First Place Recipient at the Medical University of South Carolina located in Charleston both for my project entitled, “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Perspective from the South Carolina Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Registry.”
I did a presentation at MUSC and they were absolutely grilling me on stage with questions but I held my ground because nobody knew that topic better than me. That was MY research and I was the expert in that field. I couldn’t be read. But when it was over a black girl came up to me almost in tears and she hugged me telling me how proud she was on not only my knowledge but my confidence. She said I was fearless on stage and that it inspired her to go more places and speak more because we needed to be heard. She needed to hear me and hopefully someday I’d hear her.
5. WHAT IS ONE OF THE HARDEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED THUS FAR?
One of the hardest challenges I had to face was standing on my ethics even if it meant facing a repercussion on my career. You must remember that if you stand for everything that you will fall for anything. It was a tough decision to make but at the end of the day I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and not be ashamed with the image staring back at me. Get some morals, get some values about yourself! Remember why you chose that career in the first place – because it was your passion. And ONLY the passionate prevail.
6. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING BLACK WOMEN TODAY?
The stereotype that black women must go through hell and high water in order to be respected and/or loved. Why is that? We work twice as hard just to earn half of what everybody else has. To every black girl you deserve every ounce of love and respect this world has too offer and to be clear we are the hell and the high water. We are a force to be reckoned with.
7. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG BLACK STEMINISTA TODAY?
Learn to say NO. And to say it with pride when you do. Sometimes it feels like you need to be a part of every group and organization to be this ideal wonder woman but it’s unrealistic. Honey, you cannot do it all and there will be days when you fall short. However, these imperfections do not make you inadequate they just remind you that you are human.
8. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH PRESSURE?
I deal with pressure by remembering that I am human. I can only do one thing at a time and being a perfect girl in a perfect world is unrealistic. Set goals and make it happen. Time is not of the essence, God will give you things when he believes you’re ready, no need to rush.
9. HAVE YOUR EVER EXPERIENCED IMPOSTER SYNDROME. EXPLAIN.
Yes, I’ve experienced this on multiple occasions thinking that I wasn’t good enough but the way I get over it is by remembering that I am who I am. The way I see it I am an award winning scientist so who am I to believe that I am unqualified. If major universities, conferences, and scientist are telling me that I can do it why question that. People say seeing is believing – no, believing is seeing because if you don’t believe in what you’re doing then how will you ever see it.
10. In 1903, W.E.B DU BOIS COINED THE TERM "DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS" IN HIS BOOK THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK. HE STATES, "IT IS A PECULIAR SENSATION, THIS DOUBLE-CONSCIOUSNESS, THIS SENSE OF ALWAYS LOOKING AT ONE'S SELF THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS, OF MEASURING'S ONE'S SOUL BY THE TAPE OF A WORLD THAT LOOKS ON IN AMUSED CONTEMPT AND PITY. ONE EVER FEELS HIS OWN TWO-NESS, AN AMERICAN, A NEGRO; TWO SOULS, TWO THOUGHTS,TWO UNRECONCILED STRIVINGS, TWO WARRING IDEAS IM ONE DARK BODY, WHOSE DOGGED STRENGTH ALONE KEEPS IT FROM BEING TORN ASUNDER." HAVE YOU EVER FELT THE SENSATION OF "TRIPLE CONSCIOUSNESS", YOUR OWN THREE-NESS; AN AMERICAN, A NEGRO, A WOMAN?
I don’t believe that there is anything harder than being a black woman. I have to be three things at once where the odds are stacked against me in every category but I still wouldn’t want to be anything else in this world. Everytime I walk into a room, I am black first, and a woman second. But it doesn’t bother me because being a black woman in America is the greatest super power there is and I wouldn’t wish for any other gift.
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