“Hi everyone, I’m Justine Lewis, and I am a first-generation doctor coming from the beautiful twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. I graduated from Howard University with honors in May 2018, and I am currently in my first year at the Howard University College of Medicine. Outside of Medicine, my passion is community development, and creating more opportunities for women in Science in the Caribbean. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with loved ones (though medical school makes that a bit more difficult). My long term goal is to transform healthcare in the Caribbean, and implement programs which promote the importance of preventative care. “
“I was born and raised on the Eastside of Long Beach, California as one of thirty-five grandchildren, and out of all of them, I am the first to graduate college on both sides of my family. As a first-generation college graduate, I am passionate about increasing college entry and completion for underrepresented students. Despite my lack of resources, my parents always encouraged me to shoot for the stars, resist, and to pull up my chair for a “seat at the table”. Today, I serve in my dream role as leader of a Black Cultural Center, where I am able to influence the next generation of Black leaders. Life has a way of aligning when you least expect it and in May 2019, you WILL call me Dr. Tash!”
“My name is Dr. Ciera Graham. I recieved my PhD in Sociology at the University of Cincinnati in August 2015. My dissertation focused on the role of Black student organizations at predominately white rural and urban campuses. I am now working as the Director of the Everett Community College East County Campus in Monroe, WA. I credit a lot of my success as a first-generation college student to a strong network. As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, I was able to gain insider knowledge about graduate school, and build meaningful relationships with faculty, staff, and other first generation college students who served as mentors, friends and confidantes. I experienced a lot of uncertainties throughout the doctoral process, but I was able to rely on a network that could help me work through these uncertainties and help me to understand that my feelings were common. I also wasn’t afraid to build and cultivate a community that was not afforded to me by my own graduate school department. As someone who wanted to work in administration instead of pursuing a tenure track faculty position, I had to build experiences and relationships with people who were not in faculty positions. This helped me strengthen my experience in student affairs and led to me securing my first position after I finished my PhD.”
“My name is Alicia Cheek and I am a proud #firstgendoc with a PhD in Biochemistry from University of Maryland. I had no road map for higher education growing up. I was a first-generation college student! I originally wanted to attend medical school, but chose the PhD because I liked research and PhDs in my field are nearly free! It was a grueling journey, partially because I started with zero role models and I stumbled A LOT. I earned my degree in 2015 and have devoted much of my spare time to mentoring first-generation doctoral students of Color like myself. Through mentoring, I aim to make students’ experiences a bit easier. I now work in the biotech field and run a side business writing resumes, CVs, and cover letters & speaking publicly to young people about my career pitfalls thus far to keep them from repeating my mistakes”.