Upon completion of high school in New Albany, MS, I attended Grambling State University, a historically black university in Grambling, Louisiana. There I completed a Bachelor's of Science degree in biology. Upon my discovery of the opportunities in epidemiology, I decided to become a public health professional, which led me to project IMHOTEP at Morehouse College where I worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigating rabies prevalence in the northwestern United States.
Assured that public health was the means by which I could affect change in the United States, I continued my education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where I received a Master's of Public Health in epidemiology, concentrating in infectious disease. I continued my education by pursuing a doctoral degree in infectious disease epidemiology here at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I received candidacy in the doctoral program in the spring of 2006. I am currently investigating the network transmission of HIV and other STI's in the community. Following my completion of the doctoral program, I plan to return to research further the racial disparities in health that ail minority communities in hopes of, one day, eliminating these disparities.
Growing up in Mississippi, I recognized early in my life the importance of opportunity and exposure to higher education. I also recognized the effects of disparities in this opportunity along racial lines. The difference between some of my high school classmates and me is not aptitude, nor discipline, but simply exposure. My exposure and support came from my parents, who are both formally educated - a luxury most of my classmates did not have. Thus, participating in the Urban Health Program (UHP), in any capacity, is of significant importance. Because of this program, the University of Illinois, Chicago, is an invaluable resource to minority students across the country. The UHP has given me the support necessary to be an effective resource for many of my classmates, and in turn, provides me with a resource that I can utilize when needed. I am very proud to be a part of the UHP.