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By Zeshan Khan

On Wednesday December 4, 2019 I attended a talk by Dr. Tasha Morrison, post-doctoral fellow in lymphocyte cell biology at the National Institutes of Health, in a small lecture room on the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery College. Dr. Morrison, a black female STEM researcher, talked to us about her journey to where she is now, starting with a brief overview of herself and her background. Morrison, a strong person who works hard, had lots of challenges and adversity she faced but overcame them by pushing herself. Her journey to research was not a straight path. She had to go through lots of changes. Although she started as a biology major looking into pre-med, things didn’t work out because of personal problems that impacted her grades so medical school was out the question. She changed her major multiple times before getting a PhD in molecular and translational medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. She also applied to many internships. She didn’t get into many of them, but she kept on applying until she was able to land one. She eventually became a researcher, but she kept bouncing around and switching thesis topics until she eventually applied to the NIH in a different area and now she is in her third year researching at NIH.

The lecture by Dr. Tasha Morrison showed me that the STEM pathway is not a straight pathway. I will be facing lots of adversity and I have to adapt to changes as well. Morrison emphasized that we as students shouldn’t get discourage or doubt ourselves if something doesn’t go our way. I also learned that to be able to get somewhere I must work hard for it and keep working till I am happy with where I am. Lastly, she also talked about the sacrifices she had to make to do what she wanted. Obviously, we will have different challenges and sacrifices, but she made it known that we will have to make sacrifices to get where we want to be. I’m still unclear of my career goal but I want to keep options open because throughout the pathway I can end up anywhere!

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