1. TELL ME WHEN YOU FIRST FELL IN LOVE WITH SCIENCE.
"In my chemistry class in high school, I liked when we mixed different products together and how it created a reaction. Although, I still didn’t know that when I got to college I would major in the sciences and was going to come in undecided, but I participated in the HBCU-UP program the previous summer before starting school. To be a part of the program you had to be in STEM, and I was placed in Dr. Dai’s lab and I enjoyed it but I didn’t like the chemistry aspect of it which resulted in me being a biology major. I also spoke with the tutors that they had here for us that summer and they told me about all the opportunities and experiences they’ve received and decided to give it a try. I knew it would be hard and I considered changing majors, but I realized its other people that were going to struggle with me and so I was going to stick through it and I did. And now look at me, I’m about to graduate."
2. WHO IS YOUR SCIENTIFIC SHE-ROE?
"Mary Jackson. It’s not just what she did but it’s being a black woman in science because we go unnoticed and she was the FIRST to do what she did."
3. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PARTICULAR FIELD OF STEM THAT YOU ARE IN?
"At first, I wanted to go to medical school but after doing my first real research experience at Howard University, I realized I didn’t like the clinical setting. I liked it, but I wasn’t passionate about it and I feel that’s something you really must be passionate about when someone’s life is in your hands. I liked research though and just finding out why things happen and going through trials to get to the bigger picture."
4. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR GREATEST PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT.
"I received my first publication from research at Howard University entitled, “The Role of Epigenetics in the Expression of TP-73 in Breast Cancer Cell Lines.” Also having 3+ research experiences, both are rare for an undergraduate."
5. WHAT IS ONE OF THE HARDEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED THUS FAR?
"Being here at Claflin, everyone looks the same and then going into the rest of the world and seeing people who don’t look like you and they try to test your knowledge. It’s like I always have to go the extra step to show that I really know what I’m talking about."
6. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING BLACK WOMEN TODAY?
"We are a threat because no one ever really wants to see a black person succeed. We’re above the statistics. It’s so many of us but were not acknowledged and that’s why I go to as many conferences as possible to be noticed."
7. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG BLACK STEMINISTA TODAY?
"To keep pushing. It gets hard but just think about your end goal. I personally like to do vision boards as a self-affirmation. I know sometimes you will get bad grades and endless nights but if you really want it, you’re going to have to go get it. And me being black just makes me go even harder! I also push hard because I want to be the first person in my family with a PhD."
8. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH PRESSURE?
"I like to do meditation, yoga, and most of all talk to my mom. When my mom was growing up she didn’t really take her education serious and my mom pushes me to go the extra mile. And having that PhD behind my name is what I really want. And you realize EVERYONE with a PhD and/or a MD… they’ve been through hard times to get to where they are. So if they can fail a couple quizzes and still make it, so can I."
9. HAVE YOUR EVER EXPERIENCED IMPOSTER SYNDROME. EXPLAIN.
"It didn’t start until I started interning at USC because at Howard everyone was black, here at Claflin, everyone is black… and then at USC everyone wasn’t me. So when I got there the lab I was in consisted of a lot of math and I knew that. But he kept questioning me asking, “Are you going to do the work? Are you willing?”, like what are you asking exactly. We had to get an initial acceptance before we even got here so what would make you think I didn’t want it as bad as everybody else. Just having this whole interview process and him thinking I was incapable of doing the work and in the end he was the one that couldn’t produce."
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?
"That’s a slap in my face because I take the #BlackGirlsRock movement very seriously. We are one of the largest race but the least acknowledged. I feel like the three of those things combined make me a triple threat. I’m black, I’m a woman, and I’m American. I feel powerful, I was already worth something, now it’s multiplied."
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