In light of the homecoming activities going on throughout the country, four emerging scientists from the ReTOOL/MiCaRT program were asked questions that would provide enlightenment for high school and undergraduate students in their home town. The Florida MiCaRT Center, an NIH/NCI collaborative partnership between UF and FAMU, was established to expand cancer research and training opportunities for underrepresented minority faculty and students in Florida and ultimately grow the number of minority scientists and clinical investigators in biomedical research. This summer, Tracoyia Roach, Christina Redwine, and DeCoria McCauley were all admitted as Advanced ReTOOL students, while Simone Mayes was admitted in the original ReTOOL program. The Advanced ReTOOL program is funded by the MiCaRT Center and is a continuation of the Original ReTOOL program. All four ladies presented their research at a scientific conference this November. We asked these thankful ladies to give back to their hometowns and alma maters by answering questions in an effort to inspire high school students and undergraduates. Their answers are below:
Why is it important for minorities to be involved in science? What activities were you involved in in high school that contribute to your career aspirations?
“The need for diversification in healthcare is ever increasing. Without it, issues arise such as translation difficulties and lack of cultural understanding. Studies have shown that patients respond better to healthcare professionals with whom they feel some familiarity with, whether it be through race, culture, language, or gender. These patients feel comfortable to be inquisitive and become more involved with their own health, leading to better long-term outcomes.”
—Simone Mayes (Stanton College Preparatory School Class of 2010)
“As far as I can remember, I wasn’t involved with anything directly related to my career aspirations; but I can definitely say that the activities I was in impacted my mindset today. These include choir, piano, and SNHS (the Spanish National Honor Society). For many, choir isn’t the first thing to come to mind; but I was in one of the best choirs instructed by one of the top choir directors in Texas. Her stress on perfection and not accepting anything subpar from us has made me the go getter I am today. If I do not get something correct the first time, I will keep improving it until it is.”
—DeCoria McCauley (Garland High School Class of 2011)
Why is it important for minorities to be involved in science?
What activities were you involved in in high school that contribute to your career aspirations?
In order to get where you’re going, it’s important to take a step back and see where you’ve been. Whether you’re a high school senior applying to college, or a freshman at a university, there is a career for you. Tracoyia grew up believing she’d become a doctor and even participated in a medical magnet organization in high school. After being exposed to more opportunities in college and research internships, she has decided to go to graduate school with hopes of conducting research for a pharmaceutical company after receiving her doctorate degree. In a similar fashion, Simone’s participation on a mission trip and volunteering in the community are what ignited her interests in relief work. Though it may not seem like it now, something deemed trivial in the minds of others may be what inspires you to work harder at achieving your dreams. In a sea of students applying to internships, college, professional school, and graduate school—the hobby you enjoy or club you’re in can be what sets you apart from the rest! To summarize the words of William Ernest Henley, “you are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.”