Growing up as the second child of two soldiers in the U.S Army has allowed me to hail from “everywhere, but nowhere.” My father always told my siblings and I that he wanted us to do something he and my mother did not get to do—go to college. So, I went.
As a first-generation college student, I received a full-ride scholarship into the Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Science (DNIMAS) program at Norfolk State University, a historically black college or university (HBCU). In 2012, I graduated from NSU with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry: Pre-Med and eventually landed a job at a biomedical device company called CryoLife, Inc. I worked as a Medical Device Associate assembling the HeRO® Graft (Hemodialysis Reliable Outflow), the only fully subcutaneous AV access solution clinically proven to maintain long-term access for hemodialysis patients with central venous stenosis. While there, I decided to pursue graduate studies and was accepted into Cornell University’s Biomedical Engineering PhD program.
While at Cornell, I became the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Graduate Coordinator in the DPE Department at Cornell, a position designed to support the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in engineering. I was also a Graduate Resident Fellow who lived among and worked directly with Cornell undergraduates in the West Campus Housing System to foster a diverse community through workshops, forums, activities, and socials.
In 2020, I successfully defended my dissertation that evaluated cancer drug resistance in 2D and 3D prostate cancer cell culture environments and obtained my PhD in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. Michael R. King’s lab.
Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan in the Department of Chemical Engineering in Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso’s lab. My research focuses on the evaluation of novel nano- and microparticles for therapy in neutrophilic, acute inflammatory disease and cancer. I am also the Chair of the UMich Black Postdoc Circle.
But the work does not stop there! I am super passionate about increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM by illustrating that representation matters. I am the Diversity Chair for Women Doing Science, an international movement to increase the visibility of women in science. I am also on the planning council for STEMNoire, a holistic wellness and research retreat for Black women in STEM that just had our first inaugural conference of over 500+ attendees! I am the Director of Finances for BlackInCancer, an organization that aims to strengthen networks and highlight Black excellence in cancer research and medicine. I am also a part of the STEM Avengers that successfully planned the STEM Success Summit, a virtual conference designed to equip and empower over 2000 young adults, who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM, to launch and build a successful STEM career with purpose.
I regularly speak to K-12, college, and graduate students, as well as nonprofits, Fortune 500 companies, and public institutions about a variety of topics: my STEM journey, my research, science communication, diversity in STEM, self-advocacy, professional presence, and personal branding. I continue to tell my story through keynotes, workshops, podcast interviews, panels, and my content.
Throughout the years, I have been honored and awarded: List of Influential African American Women to Follow on LinkedIn (2020), Cell Press 1000 Inspiring Black Scientist in America (2020), Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (2020), Cornell Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) Graduate Student of the Year (2017), Cornell DPE Robert Mozia Graduate Distinguished Service Award (2016), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (2014), and Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2014).
I am a proud and active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I only hope I can continue to inspire and fight for the next generation of scientists and beyond.