I love mentoring and inspiring young minds to follow their own path. I acknowledge that this is hard but assure them that, if they’re willing to give it their best, they can succeed.
Four years ago, I completed my Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and became a Keystone Lecturer in the Clark School. I’ve come a pretty long way from Oxon Hill High School of Prince George’s County.
My grandfather, a machinist at the Goddard Space Center, inspired my interest in space, and my mother is responsible for my love of Star Trek. There was never much doubt about my career path, but my high school courses did not adequately prepare me for the rigors of higher education STEM. It took me five years to graduate, but I was determined not to be stopped by failing grades, having to retake courses, lack of money, or anything else.
The LSAMP Undergraduate Research Program was my first deep connection to the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering. I doubt I would be a Keystone Lecturer or even have a graduate degree were it not for the connections and insights I got at the center. Ms. Parker and former assistant director Ms. Hamilton even helped me find an NSF grad school fellowship.
I love mentoring and inspiring young minds to follow their own path. On the first day of class, I tell my students, “You will all be tortured equally under the laws of engineering!” Joking aside, I acknowledge that this is hard but assure them that, if they’re willing to give it their best, they can succeed. I try to give everybody the same amount of encouragement, but I make sure the students of color hear it. For many of them, it’s the first time they’ve seen somebody who looks like them in a position of knowledge and mentorship. Many have told me they were proud to take my class. And I’m so proud to be here for them.