Current Scholar Spotlight: Deja Rush

Deja Rush leaning against a treeLSAMP Scholar

Rank: Sophomore
Major: Biomedical engineering with a minor in
Spanish and music
Graduation date: 2020

What motivated you to become a part of LSAMP?

I knew I wanted to be a part of a STEM-based minority program at The Ohio State University. Within STEM, there is a lack of cultural competency. So, I believed it was critical for me to be involved in a program with people who can relate to me and my experiences at an institution which is comprised of only about 20% minorities. Also, I believed it was a good way to connect with other minorities who would be taking similar classes.

What opportunities have you had at Ohio State because of LSAMP and ODI that you might not have had otherwise?

Because of LSAMP and ODI, I have been able to fully fund my education and focus on having the ultimate college experience. I have been able to succeed academically because I have had access to resources such as private tutoring and 1:1 success coaching. I have also had the opportunity to improve my portfolio by expanding my network and getting involved in research.

What can you share about your research, and why had you selected that area of study?

I am involved in a cancer research lab in the department of biomedical engineering. I chose this area of research because I am a cancer survivor. My own battle has inspired me and motivated me to make a difference and help find a cure.

What challenges have you experienced as an underrepresented student in STEM? As a woman?

I believe I have had to work harder in order to prove to my peers that I belong and that I am just as capable as they are.          

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to attend medical school and become a doctor in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

What advice would you like to give to future LSAMP scholars?

I would advise them to take advantage of everything that LSAMP has to offer. Stay connected with your mentors, attend conferences and network and be honest about areas you could improve in and then make a change.


Prior Spotlights

Shelly Martin spotlight

Shelly Martin spotlight

If there is one thing that Shelly Martin has learned, it is that education can light up a dark world. And when she realized that her passion was people, she combined those two certainties into her life’s work and purpose. Read more about Shelly Martin.

Zaid Hightower spotlight

Zaid Hightower spotlight

The spring before Zaid Hightower was ready to begin classes at The Ohio State University, he received an email from the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, inviting him to attend the Center’s Early Arrival Program (EAP). It was his mother who read the email and told Zaid that he needed to attend the program. Read more about Zaid Hightower.

Maya Prabhu Spotlight

Maya Prabhu Spotlight

The day in April 2013 that Maya Prabhu received the Morrill Scholarship will forever be etched in her memory. “It was a day of tears, hugs, and – most importantly – empowerment. Since that day, my experiences with the Morrill Scholars Program and the Distinction Scholarship have given me many tools and resources that I know will help me succeed in all areas of my life.” Read more about Maya Prabhu.

Daniel Moussa Spotlight

Daniel Moussa Spotlight

Daniel Moussa has long been interested in the sciences, and his background in sports has led him to focus on the “silent epidemic” of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which are often the results of sports accidents. “As someone who plays sports, I am aware of the dangers of concussions, which are a type of TBI, and their long-term effects,” Daniel stated. Read more.

Ignacio Munoz Spotlight

Ignacio Munoz Spotlight

After just one week at The Ohio State University, Ignacio Muñoz was confident that he made the right choice when choosing which university to attend. A freshman at Ohio State, Ignacio is proud to be a Buckeye because he knows that the university will provide him with a current platform to build upon all aspects of himself as well as become a future springboard to propel him into his career and adult life. Read more about Ignacio Muñoz.

Rolando Muniz Spotlight

Rolando Muniz Spotlight

Rolando Muniz always understood the value of and the need for diversity and inclusion. At St. John's Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo, Rolando was part of the school’s 20/20 Program, which helps underrepresented students by providing financial aid and scholarship opportunities. The program also pays for students' ACT and SAT and college application fees – or any other needed test or document – and provides additional support such as jobs outside of school and volunteering opportunities. Read more about Rolando Muniz.

Demondre Peak Spotlight

Demondre Peak Spotlight

Sitting in his AP history course at Gilbert A. Dater High School in Cincinnati, Demondre Peak immediately fell in love with politics and history. From that moment on, he knew that he wanted to obtain a career where he could pursue his love for the art of debate and exchanging ideas. However, choosing a college or university that would develop him to his fullest potential was the first step. Read more about Demondre Peak.

Komal Paradkar Spotlight

Komal Paradkar Spotlight

A third-year student, Komal Paradkar chose The Ohio State University not only because it is close to her home in Mason, Ohio but also because of the university’s many opportunities, including the number of undergraduate degrees offered. Ohio State’s 200 plus majors contributed to Komal’s decision to attend: the university is one of only a handful of colleges in the country to offer an undergraduate major in Biomedical Science. Read more about Komal Paradkar.

Alessandra Bliss Spotlight

Alessandra Bliss Spotlight

A 1976 report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, highlighted three challenges faced by underrepresented women in scientific disciplines: gender, race or ethnicity, and having a career in a STEM field. These same obstacles were familiar to Alessandra Bliss, a scholar in The Ohio State University’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. Read more on Alessandra Bliss.

Starling Tolliver Spotlight

Starling Tolliver Spotlight

When she was in middle school, Starling Tolliver read a book that changed her perception of what she could become. The book, We Beat the Streets, tells the story of three friends from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods who made a pact to go to college and become doctors and dentists. The book resonated with Starling because she also had two best friends who wanted to become doctors. Read more about Starling Tolliver.


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