Where were you born?
What school did you attend?
Prince George's Community College; University of North Carolina - Wilmington; University of Maryland University College
What gained you interest in the NIH?
I met Dr. Rita Devine during a graduate public health fellowship with the National Congress of American Indians, and she did a presentation on the opportunities available for students that want to pursue research. It was a very defining moment for me.
How can you help improve the composition of the STEM education pipeline for Native American students?
I make a point in using social media to highlight the fun and amazing things I get to do during my career in hopes of capturing the attention of young people in my tribe. I have been successful, and I'm often asked how they too can find opportunities to put them on the path to a STEM career.
What is your most important accomplishment to date?
As an intern, I researched and wrote the baseline document that is now an application that NIH's Division of Environmental Protection uses to approve chemical waste disposal in NIH laboratories. I was also selected to present my research project, Reduction of Antibiotics in Animal Waste Bedding through Thermophiliic Composting, at the 2016 SACNAS Conference.
How did you choose your career?
I wanted to be a planeteer, like on the tv show Captain Planet! Traditional environmental values from my family, my love for life and the environment, in addition to my hobbies (fishing, crabbing, hiking) have all culminated in my desire to be an environmental scientist.
What types of community programs do you feel need to be more visible in Indian Country?
Any programs that highlight the amazing things that Natives are doing will assist youth in visualizing themselves in similar careers. Youth need to see people like themselves making strides in underrepresented industries and education.
How can Tribal colleges build stronger partnerships with institutions like NIH?
Tribal colleges should set up a program, or even a competition to chose at least one deserving and disadvantaged student to sponsor to come to NIH to intern. In addition, that liaison for the program needs to coordinate getting out the information about the NIH Summer Internship program.
What does success mean to you?
Success is the attainment of goals while growing, learning, and enjoying the journey along the way.