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

Kato Mitchell Spotlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Veronica Harris Spotlight

Veronica Harris Spotlight

Veronica Harris didn’t always know that she wanted to be a dental hygienist. She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2010 from California State University, East Bay. “I was working as a juvenile counselor and was laid off from my job. I enrolled in a science course to keep me busy while I looked for work, and I became really interested in science and started to take more courses.” Read more on Veronica Harris .

Angela Frost Spotlight

Angela Frost Spotlight

Angela Frost always thought she would end up studying law. It is a field, she says, that touches literally every aspect of everyday life. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Kinesiology in Sport Management, Angela took two years off from school to re-focus and to make sure that law was the career that she wanted to pursue. Read more on Angela Frost.

Zack Bazile Spotlight

Zack Bazile Spotlight

Growing up, Zack Bazile had always been involved in sports: soccer, football, rugby, baseball, wrestling and swimming. While attending grade school in Teaneck, New Jersey, during the summer, Zack’s mom enrolled him in track camp, a sport that he found he enjoyed very much. However, Zack’s path to becoming a champion long jumper hit a hurdle once he tried out for a track club team and participated in his first meet with the club. Read more on Zack Bazile.


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