Representation matters. Not only is it essential for the world to see people like me doing this caliber of research, but it’s also imperative for people like me to ask and answer the questions that matter to our communities.
Many critics may argue that the scientific pipeline to increase diversity in STEM is leaky and has failed over the years. However, it was this same pipeline that gave me exposure to scientific research and the endless possibilities for this career path. Destiny led me to where I am today—applying for faculty positions after a decade pursuit. As a Black woman scientist from the Deep South, I see the beauty in conquering the academy. I get joy from thinking about the chance to train and mentor the next generation of scientists and establishing my research agenda. I want a seat at the table when it comes to creating innovative programs that expose students to biomedical research.
I had a successful and productive graduate and postdoctoral career. Indeed, I owe this to the pipeline that was created to give opportunities and exposure to the students from rural America like me. Interestingly, my mission and passion for my future is to provide the same opportunities to the generation of scholars after me through building supportive pipeline mechanisms.
Representation matters. Not only is it essential for the world to see people like me doing this caliber of research, but it’s also imperative for people like me to ask and answer the questions that matter to our communities. I am now prepared and looking forward to tackling the academia, chasing tenure and establishing my research agenda in the future—all while leading, and directing the best mechanism and program to prepare postgraduate/baccalaureate scholars for Ph.D. programs.