How Being Black in STEM Changed my Life

by STEMconnector


This is a guest blog post from Jazmine Grant: Bison STEM Scholars Member Cohort 2, Howard University Class of 2022.

Being black and STEM is not a rarity anymore; however, it still is a challenge to draw the minds of minorities to STEM careers. The challenges and struggles minorities are given makes it arduous to want to do STEM or have a career in STEM. The key role models in my community are athletes, people who came from the same background and “made it out”. There are seldom people in STEM careers that my community knows. Still, underrepresented minorities are being fed with knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. That happens to be the case for me. My name is Jazmine Grant, I am from Baltimore, Maryland, and I am a freshman biology major at the illustrious Howard University.

My STEM experience started out when I was young. When I was a child my attention span was very short, my energy was through the roof, and the only things that made me happy was Bratz dolls, Legos, and Capri Suns. Thus, my introduction to STEM included something I loved, Legos.  Mrs. Stevenson, my first-grade teacher, used Legos to explain basic addition and subtraction and that drew me in. Since then, I have loved mathematics. Throughout my scholastic experience, my love for math shifted to science and medicine. I attended Western School of Technology and Environmental Science for high school and I was in the Academy of Health Profession magnet. I have always wanted to aid and help people in need and was very interested to learn medicine. In my Health Professions Magnet, we learned medical terminology, abbreviations, and the steps of basic clinical work. We also earned certifications in CPR, First Aid, and Basic Life Support. At first, I was ambivalent about enjoying science more than math. However, all the information gained from this experience displayed to me that this is something I want to pursue a career in.

Junior year was the year that I mainly started to look into what college I wanted to attend. I did a lot of research on many colleges I was interested, specifically Howard University, the college I attend now. By senior year, I looked at scholarship programs and other programs that would aid me during college. Then while during my research I specifically found the Bison STEM Scholars Program (https://www2.howard.edu/scholarships/bison-stem-scholars) , a student development program that aids Howard University STEM students that want to pursue M.D./Ph.D. and Ph.D.’s in their future. While researching the program, I found that it was fairly similar to the Meyerhoff Scholars program, a program at University of Maryland Baltimore County that assist students who also want to pursue doctoral degrees.  What attracted me to Bison STEM Scholars is that it was located at Howard University. Howard University is a historically black college in Washington, D.C. that provides students with people and professors who care about the student’s success and a family. Well, I applied and was graciously admitted into the university and the program.

A few months ago, I was a part of the summer bridge program which allows Bison STEM Scholars to take summer classes, including Calculus 1 and Afro American Studies; learn about college success, time management, and learn more about the campus.  I also spent two weeks in Berlin, Germany with my cohort to expound our knowledge on global communication and public health. This experience so far has been amazing. I am around such great, intelligent people who are also in my shoes transitioning into college. The director, Mr. Ronald Smith, has also done a wonderful job making sure that us scholars are the best we can be and using our brightness and intelligence fully so that we can excel in college. Also, my future career has become more directed and specific; I hope to pursue my M.D./Ph.D. and practice anesthesiology and research in mental health and opioid use disorders. I am excited about the experiences I will endure, college life, and my future endeavors in my career and life. Only recently starting college, I now see the rigor it takes to be a STEM major; however, with my grit and determination, I will earn my M.D/Ph.D. and be your Doctor and Researcher of Tomorrow.