On February 16, 2021, the Science Society hosted a panel of Black professionals in the biomedical field. The event, entitled “My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams,” was a smash success, attracting more than 48 participants. The panelists included Dr. Steven Black (Gastroenterology), Dr. Olufunke Olushoga (Internal Medicine), Dr. Ronald Price (Emergency Medicine), Dr. Elizabeth Simpson (General Dentistry), and MMC’s own Dr. Deirtra Hunter (Neuroscience).
The panel was organized and moderated by Science Society officers Jordan Barnett ’21 (President) and Shadé Eleazer ’22 (Social Media Coordinator). Jordan is a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Psychology. Shadé is a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Behavioral Neuroscience.
In the words of Jordan Barnett ’21, President of the Science Society:
When Shadé and I first started talking about this event, I was really excited. That feeling was due to the constant requests by students to have the chance to interact with professionals in different STEM fields who look like them. As many of you know, the history of Black people has been plagued with inequity and inequality, but triumph and perseverance too. The panelists who presented their stories, passions, and advice gave so many of the science students at MMC hope that their dreams are possible.
Saying the panel was a success would be an understatement. The way the panelists bounced off of each other, how engaged the students were, and how honest and relatable the professionals were shows how incredibly impactful the panel was. I hope that these types of panels don’t just occur during Black History Month, but all throughout the year. I am honored the panelists took time out of their busy schedules to be a part of the My Ancestors’ Wildest Dream Panel, because they knew how important it was. Representation breeds opportunity and hope, and I saw that in the students’ eyes. In light of everything going on in the world, from a pandemic to countless shootings of unarmed Black people; I think we all needed to hear from those who are consistently making vast and lasting change in our community. To the students, thank you for joining us; to the panelists, we admire your courage to break down barriers and give mentorship as well quality healthcare to your patients.
In the words of Shadé Eleazer ’22, SGA Senator for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, and Social Media Coordinator of the Science Society:
The Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams Panel that was co-hosted by Science Society and SGA’s Senator for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was a huge success! This event really showed the comradery of the students within the Natural Sciences department even through this new online learning format due to this being one of the largest audiences that we have seen in a long time. Having an event featuring Black professionals in STEM, during Black History Month is wonderful and truly inspiring to experience.
It was so amazing to hear the inspiring stories of the panelists, their struggles and thoughts while pursuing their careers and degrees that ended up being very similar to the difficulties that many of our students are facing now. It was very relatable and allowed for a candid and truthful conversation to happen between the panelists, the hosts, and the audience. Us student leaders would love for this to be the beginning of many events that value the diversity of our student body and that gives an accurate representation of the many different people in STEM as well as other fields.
Thank you to Jordan and Shadé for organizing this fabulous panel!