December 2011

Research Spotlight

How did you first become interested in science? 

My father had an administrative career in the army, but had hobbies in tinkering in general, and in carpentry. He always encouraged my exploration to figure out how things worked and (seemed to) never tire of my questions.

Were there times when you failed at something you felt was critical to your path? If so, how did you regroup and get back on track? 

There are many times that I fail –– and I mean this in the present tense –– at things that are critical to my path. I regroup by putting legs and feet to my disappointment. That is, I try to find active ways to identify and address the core issue or flaw and get moving again. I also depend on the support of friends and mentors who affirm my strengths and provide resources for improving the weaknesses.

What advice would you give to young persons from underrepresented backgrounds who want to pursue a career in science similar to yours? 

There are all sorts of bits of advice I could offer, but I’ll skip them and instead will strongly encourage budding scientists to get mentors and to be a good mentee. Mentors should be people who have navigated the multitudes of paths you’re embarking upon, or paths similar to them. These mentors also should have some vested interest in your success. They may be able to point out successful strategies for you to adopt, or pitfalls in the road that they succumbed to. Your mentors should also be able to identify your strengths, as well as point out weaknesses. That won’t always be easy to hear, which prompts my advice to be a good mentee. You have the responsibility of seeking these mentors and to also heavily consider their suggestions.

What are your hobbies? 

I love photography and own my own photography business. I also enjoy fishing in southeast Louisiana with my family, and I am active in my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

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