Michelle Obama is one of my idols and inspires me for many reasons. To name just a few: she is an intelligent and well-versed lawyer and writer; the first African American first lady of the United States; an advocate for health and wellness, higher education, and young women; and most of all, relatable and authentic. I love that she is hardworking, committed, and tenacious and that she embraces the idea of “becoming.” She emphasizes that you don’t have to be just one thing or get to one level of life (a job, a goal, an ideal family); you can be many things and still be just as successful. A mathematician and member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Katherine Johnson, whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights, is also inspirational to me. She paved the way for young women who looked like her—like me—to be confident in the STEM field.
Many members of my family, myself included, are passionate about education and were lifelong teachers. I’ve taught at the grade school and college levels and continue to tutor, with the focus of uplifting and encouraging young Black people to be confident in STEM and set high goals for themselves. I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors and examples of success throughout my life, and I hope to do the same for those who come after me. I take pride in the color of my skin and the awesome things we do every day as Black people. My family and I have and will continue to contribute to the Black experience by continuing to thrive and representing our heritage proudly.