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."
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 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
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.
Demetrice Allen Spotlight
Demetrice Allen excelled in high school as a gifted debater but coming from a single parent home and attending a Wisconsin high school that was in the bottom tier posed some challenges. “I didn’t have exposure to many different careers, so my background was so crucial to me being where I am today.” Demetrice’s journey to where he is today was one of new interests. Read more on Demetrice Allen.
Nima Dahir Spotlight
Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Nima Dahir’s curiosity stemmed from her involvement in service and diversity activities in high school. “I was in the Student Council, was the president of the Interact Club, an organization dedicated to community service, and was a member of groups that focused on increasing understanding of diversity throughout the school,” said Nima. The same passion she had for service translated to her educational studies. Read more on Nima Dahir.
Shelby Newsad Spotlight
A love for nature is what inspired Shelby Newsad (pictured on right) to major in biochemistry. “I’m a very curious person at heart who adores nature and the outdoors. I took organic chemistry my sophomore year and fell in love with the illumination of life it brings. Understanding the natural world has always been an interest of mine, but with biochemistry it has become my career,” said Shelby. Read more on Shelby Newsad.
Kenneth White, Jr. Spotlight
After graduating in 1995 with a BA in Mathematics from Wayne State University, Kenneth White, Jr. knew that he wanted to continue his education, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a PhD. He had heard that only about 1% of the population has a PhD, and he added, “Being a black male, I wanted a PhD to be a mentor in terms of educational attainment.” Read more on Kenneth White, Jr.
Carlos Mendez Spotlight
Born to parents who emigrated from Puerto Rico to America, Carlos Mendez often struggled with his identity and belonging and found himself wondering how to succeed academically and socially. But with the help of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s (ODI) LASER program, Carlos found a place where he can relate to people just like him, and he wasted no time getting involved. Read more on Carlos Mendez.
Da’Quan Knuckles Spotlight
Da’Quan Knuckles believes in making a difference. “I just want to give back to my community and to the people who helped me. Without my community and family, I wouldn't be here,” he stated. This past January, Da’Quan was honored for his community work with the “Youth: Capturing the Vision of Dr. King” award presented at the 30th Annual Commemorative Celebration sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. Read more on Da'Quan Knuckles.
Korrie Johnson Spotlight
Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Korrie Johnson had plenty of support from family and friends. “I had people who looked like me to serve as role models, give me support and tell me that I was going to do great things.” So when Korrie made the decision to pursue a PhD, he knew that it would be very important for any university he chose to have an active diversity unit. Read more on Korrie Johnson.