Freshman Biochemistry Major University of California, Riverside
2nd Year PhD Student
University of Florida
I earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and computer science at Fort Valley State University and a Master of Science in computer science at North Carolina A&T State University. Like many others in this community, I thought I would be a medical doctor when I was younger. I will still be a doctor, but of computers!
How was your experience with STEM classes and teachers in middle and high school?
From an early age, I had an affinity for mathematics. My mom gave me a laptop and provided educational software like Jump Start and Clue Finders. I always participated in math competitions and enrolled in advanced classes. My middle and high school math teacher was my absolute favorite teacher and still serves as a mentor.
One of my favorite tools was Excel, and at an early age, my mom taught me how to create my first spreadsheets. Some of my first entries were my favorite toys and their descriptions and prices. Today I use spreadsheets to help people build budgets.
After grad school, what’s next?
I plan to become a professor, consultant and philanthropist.
What do you do to unwind?
When I am not researching, I am usually scrapbooking, spending time with friends, reading about budgeting and finance, planning, or budgeting.
My Grad School Experience
Why did you choose to go to Grad School?
I always wanted to be a doctor. In middle school I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. However, once I discovered how interesting math and computers were, my plans changed. I knew that I could make a larger impact in my field and community with a graduate degree.
Do you ever feel discouraged? How do you get around that?
I do at times, but I continue to surrounded myself with positive mentors, colleagues and family who encouraged me every step of the way. I also continue to pray and keep God first.
Who are some of your biggest cheerleaders?
My cheerleading team consists of my mom, family, best friends, sorority sisters, friends, colleagues, advisors, mentors, professors, and ministers. My mom is phenomenal! She’s the captain of my cheer squad and she has always been there to push, motivate, and support me. My research advisor is also a source of inspiration. He continues to encourage me to be all that I can be and know that I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to. Sometimes, when I feel as if I am not good enough, he politely refutes that mindset and reminds me that I am supposed to be here.
What do you want to say to up and coming Melanin Genius?
You have everything you need on the inside of you to reach your goals.
What has been the most useful life advice you have received?
Face your challenges; for they define who you are.
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