Voted Most Likely To:
Dance, eat, laugh, and be merry.
University of West Florida, Class of 2014
Currently Working As:
Graduate Student, University of Notre Dame
What do you love about your job?
I love that I have the ability to craft and create new molecules. I am an organic chemist and I synthesize various dyes for biological applications, such as tumor targeting or sensing. My lab is a collaboration between organic and biochemists and we work together to see the project to completion. These dyes are not only useful, but they are aesthetically pleasing. I find beauty in this work and I am a "painter" in my lab, painting my hood different shades of blue and purple.
What has been the most exciting part of your career so far?
The most exciting part of my career has been being able to mentor other young women, especially African American women. In my undergraduate and graduate career, I have been fortunate to work with mentors that support and aid in my development as a chemist and also care about me as a person. I am now in the position to mentor incoming students and help quell the fears I once had myself, when I was in their position.
What would you tell yourself at age 18?
I would tell 18-year-old Tia to continue working on finding happiness in her life and work, as well as the importance of communication. The ability to communicate well with people from a scientific or nonscientific background is tremendously important. Efficient communication fosters a collaborative environment where there is no possibility for misinterpretation due to miscommunication.
How has ACS Scholars impacted your life and career?
ACS Scholars impacted my life greatly. Throughout my undergraduate career, I worked two jobs and through winter and summer breaks in order to pay for school. Working so many hours, on top of studying and classes, was particularly hard and did not allow any time for research. However, ACS scholarship allowed me to stop working as hard and focus solely on my academics. I was able to spend my summers doing research which allowed me to gain hands-on experience in the lab.