Current Scholar Spotlight: Reginald Woods
Within his major of microbiology, Reginald Woods has found the perfect discipline, one that combines both his passion for science and his devotion to alleviating issues in minority communities. “My love of science and medicine pushed me to pursue microbiology. I also chose to study microbiology because the communities I am a part of have disproportionately suffered from diseases caused by pathogens and infectious diseases,” he said.
While studying microbiology at The Ohio State University, Reginald is supported by the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, which assists universities and colleges in diversifying the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce through their efforts at significantly increasing the numbers of students successfully completing degree programs in STEM disciplines. The program helps students meet faculty and staff within their disciplines, provides research opportunities, and supports students with their graduate school applications.
“What motivated me to become a part of LSAMP was the community of students who came from similar backgrounds as me and wanted to be successful in scientific disciplines. I knew before I entered my first year at Ohio State that being around individuals who are interested in advancing scientific and technical industries would be extremely beneficial to me, especially because I was someone who had lacked that type of community prior to college.” Now, as a third-year LSAMP scholar, the very community Reginald sought has brought him some of his best friends and biggest supporters, and he has no doubt that his LSAMP cohort and he will achieve “amazing things.”
In addition to the encouragement he received through LSAMP, Reginald’s mom and grandmother have inspired him. “Both of them never let any obstacle hinder my siblings and me in our educational pursuit. The sacrifices they have made have inspired me to work hard in the hope of representing them the best way I can.” Reginald is also inspired by younger generations of minority scientists who could look to him as an inspiration: “Having the privilege to attend Ohio State, pursue microbiology, and take part in so many amazing opportunities, has shown me that I have an obligation to help people who wish to acquire those same opportunities. Ultimately, the inspiration of my family and the opportunity to help cultivate future generations of minority scientists is what inspires me to succeed.”
Reginald plans to graduate on May 5, 2019. Post-graduation, he will pursue medical school to become a physician because he hopes to work with underserved communities and mentor subsequent generations of minority scientists. He also will continue to conduct research, in the hopes of decreasing the prevalence of HIV in underserved communities. “My ultimate life goal is be a part of the collaborative network of professionals who are actively working toward finding a cure for the virus.”
Underrepresented students make up just a fraction of those receiving degrees in STEM fields, and Reginald has this advice for those Buckeyes following in his footsteps: seek mentorships and stick with a discipline that makes you excited to discover more and not to pursue a field because you think you are “supposed” to do it. “Ohio State is a huge place, so take advantage of ALL the opportunities you can; you will be surprised by how fast time flies! I’d also advise them to not give up when things get difficult.” Understanding that a science major can be a demanding field to pursue, Reginald acknowledges that there will inevitably be roadblocks. But there are also, he says, great rewards such as gaining an extensive scientific knowledge base, critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills to be equipped to discover and fix complex issues worldwide.
"The work they do will inspire others, which is the beauty of being a scientist."
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
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
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.
Kato Mitchell Spotlight
Watching his parents struggle as a child, Kato Mitchell knew that there wouldn’t be much of a chance for him to attend a university. All of that changed when Kato found a way to a college degree through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Young Scholars Program (YSP) in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Read more about Kato Mitchell.
Marissa Weatherly Spotlight
Growing up, Marissa Weatherly was raised by a single mother who instilled in her at a young age the importance of paying forward and having a good education. Marissa’s childhood included volunteering at soup kitchens – even though her family often ate at them – and spending her free time at the library attending programs and reading countless books. Read more about Marissa Weatherly.
Mark Reese Spotlight
As a young child, airplanes fascinated Mark Reese. Family vacations left him more excited for the plane ride than the vacation itself, and his mom bought him books on aviation that he would read from cover to cover. When Mark was eight years old, a United Airlines captain took him up in a light aircraft for a quick flight around eastern Colorado. Read more about Mark Reese.
Chris Schwarz Spotlight
After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle with majors in Political Science and American Indian Studies and minors in Diversity and Human Rights, Chris Schwarz continued on his academic journey, and his high school friends had a lot to do with his choosing law as a profession. Read more about Chris Schwarz.
Mara Smith Spotlight
After Mara Smith graduated from Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, she knew her next step would be attending The Ohio State University to study respiratory therapy. That journey, however, took a slightly different path when two weeks after she began college, Mara found out that she was pregnant. Read more about Mara Smith.
Nicolas Fernandez Spotlight
My family emigrated from Colombia to Miami, Florida in 2011. Halfway through my senior year of high school, the process of applying to college was more stressful than I thought, and not being completely fluent in English added to my stress; I wasn’t sure whether my SAT writing and grammar scores would help me get anywhere at the time. Regardless of my doubts I had a desire to succeed and salir para adelante. Read more about Nicolas Fernandez.
Zaire Sims Spotlight
Several times during her years in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, Zaire Sims and her family were homeless, leaving Zaire with no idea as to how she could afford college. Zaire’s dream of attending college came closer to reality when a science teacher her freshman year took notice of her good grades, effort, and willingness to learn. Read more about Zaire Sims.