Name: Sade Williams
Alma Mater: University of Georgia
STEM Career Path: Professor at a small liberal arts college
Who/What inspired you to become interested in biomedical science?
SW: I was inspired to pursue a career in the sciences by my high school AP chemistry teacher. He was a person of color, and his passion and enthusiasm for teaching and science truly resonated with me. I had never before encountered a person of color teaching science, and this representation gave me the courage to major in biochemistry at my undergraduate institution.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with one woman in STEM who would it be and why?
SW: I would say Katherine Johnson, one of the fearless, African American mathematicians that worked for NASA. I would love to hear about her experiences as a woman in STEM when women, especially black women, were not seen as equal or smart or capable. What gave her the strength to persevere and remain resilient in the face of so much adversity?
What struggles have you faced as an African American woman in STEM thus far?
SW: Definitely microaggressions. Being a minority in the sciences means having to deal with awkward situations pertaining to race where you feel uncomfortable about certain comments or discussions and finding the most effective way to handle the situation. As a black woman, I am always conscience of being labeled the “angry, black woman” stereotype if I address these types of situations too aggressively.
How did you overcome those struggles?
SW: I think I get better at handling these microaggressions every time the situation occurs. I think the key is to be firm about addressing the problem, but also willing to use the situation as a teaching moment so that the offender can learn from it.
Best Advice You Have Ever Received?
SW: What God has for you is for you, and nothing can stand against that.
Any advice for women wanting to pursue their doctorate?
SW: BE RESILIENT. The road to getting a PhD is not easy, and you’re going to get knocked down many times but they key is to get back up. Also, have a support system. Whether that’s a therapist, family, friends or a significant other.
Fun Fact about you
SW: I come from an incredibly small town in southeast Georgia that has a population of around 300.
For young women of color that are interested in pursuing biomedical science how do they get there ?
SW: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek guidance. Get a mentor and do your homework on the career your interested in to find out what it takes to be successful.
Thank You Sade For Being Such A Wonderful Inspiration!
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