Profiles of Excellence, in their own words...

Terra D. Irons, Ph.D.

Posted: March 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Where are you from?
Hampton, VA
Where are you currently?
I work in Washington, DC and live in Alexandria, VA.
What year did you graduate?
2006
What was your major?
Chemistry
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Ph.D. in Toxicology
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
Toxicologist, Post-Deployment Health, Department of Veterans Affairs
I consult with Congress on environmental exposures experienced during deployment that may cause long-term illness/injury.
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is a full scholarship program that aims to prepare minorities to get advanced degrees in STEM fields. It includes a rigorous curriculum and peer tutoring and mentoring, and it also emphasizes summer research both on and off campus.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
Being a part of such a prestigious program has definitely impacted my life. I was able to participate in a summer research program at the University of North Carolina that had taken many students from DNIMAS before me. That summer research experience enabled me to gain acceptance to their graduate program in Toxicology, one of the most heralded in that field in the country, where I published in the scientific peer-reviewed literature and presented my research both nationally and internationally.
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
DNIMAS exposed me to being a part of a community, which taught me to help others even when there is nothing in it for me.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
(Is this a REAL question, Doug???) LOLOLOL…. I tutored for STARS… does that count?
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
My favorite memory is when DSA threw a costume party that spanned half of the 3rd floor in Lee Smith. We got in trouble ofcourse, but it was definitely a lot of fun!
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
What I liked least about DNIMAS was the added pressures put on students to perform once funding issues increased (e.g. curriculum changes, GPA requirements, peer tutoring/mentoring). Although I understand why this happened, I think that it was counterproductive in a lot of ways, and retention seemed to suffer. I think that, instead, recruitment efforts should have been strengthened to make sure that the caliber of incoming freshmen remained the same from year-to-year.
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
A lot because I wouldn’t know how to ask for help, and no matter where you want to go in life, you can’t get there on your own.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Yes, I met some of my best friends in/through DNIMAS. I also keep in contact with DNIMAS and STARS faculty on a regular basis.
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
DON’T GIVE UP! Through all the challenges and frustrations, if you can teach yourself to be disciplined enough to see it through, it will be one of the most valuable experiences of your life.


Brittney M. Nobles

Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Where are you from?
Michigan
Where are you currently?
Atlanta
What year did you graduate?
2011
What was your major?
Chemistry
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Not yet, but it is coming.
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
Doctor of Pharmacy; Mercer University; and in the process of securing a place in the joint pharm.d/ph.d program.
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
It is a program that allows students the opportunity to advance. Yes, the program offers a free science-based education, but it is more than that. DNIMAS provides options and perspective to students. The program provides a secure family for anyone who is willing to abide by a few simple rules. Lol
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
Upon entering college, I had other plans after graduation that did not include professional school; my interests were in the arts. However, I had professors that urged me to continue with my schooling and reach for something higher than just an undergraduate degree. I studied profusely, enough to graduate as number one in the 2011 graduating class with a 4.0 GPA. Additionally, the program promoted post-graduate education, and now I am in pharmacy school.
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
There were many things that that DNIMAS showed me that I was already privileged know; however. I cannot think of a particular instance where the program was a hindrance.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
Being that I am in a sorority-Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.-I participated in a myriad of Greek activities. I loved spending time with my friends and doing cultural activities, such as going to plays (which were all paid for by the Honors College).
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
My favorite moment was second semester of senior year, all of it. It was such a beautiful and emotional time, especially closer to the end. This is when I made the realization that I’ll miss the comfortableness that DNIMAS provided tremendously.
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
APS!!! Also, I did not like that we could not chose our roommates or where we lived.
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
I would have a bill for my schooling. Also, I do not believe that I would have attended NSU. I would have missed out on so many cherished experiences and friendships.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Of course. Being that I was with my DNIMAS family all day, every day, it would be difficult not to make friends. I still communicate with so many people, and I plan to always maintain those friendships.
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Don’t stress out about all the rules and protocols. In retrospect, they’re not that bad. Also, don’t forget to have fun. Undergrad is not that difficult compared to the next steps after NSU. Go out, enjoy being care-free. These are some of the best years if you allow them to be. Don’t be a hermit and only study; just maintain that 3.2 GPA! And lastly remember to “Behold, the Green and Gold!”


Erica Veal

Posted: December 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


Where are you from?
Portsmouth, VA
Where are you currently?
Portsmouth, VA (I love this place!!!)
What was your major?
Applied Mathematics
When did you graduate from DNIMAS?
2004
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Masters in Optical Engineering and Computer Science, all from NSU.
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
Typing (tehehe…)  Maybe you mean what’s my job: I’m a Geometry Teacher turned Nuclear Engineer
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is the best opportunity that you can ask for.  It allows you to make friends that will soon be pivotal people in your life as well as the world.  DNIMAS grants you a passage to worlds otherwise unknown.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
I wouldn’t have had a college education and learned about the world of education and opportunity.
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
It gave me a whole host of friends that I proudly call my family.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
Math Club, DNIMAS Student Association, NSBE, Society of Physics Students
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
Freshmen year…yes, the whole thing!
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
Nothing
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
I would be working at Wendy’s …still
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
HELL’S YEAH
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Education is taking advantage of all the time, take advantage of this opportunity….Oh and APS really does help in the end…hehehehe

Oyindamola Oluwawtimi

Posted: December 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Where are you from?
Born and raised in Washington, D.C.; My entire family, however, is from Nigeria.
Where are you currently?
Indiana
What year did you graduate?
err… 2011?
What was your major?
Computer Science
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Soon to be a Ph.D (Kanye West reference),…
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
Currently attending Purdue University to attain a Ph.D in Computer Science with a focus in Computer Security.
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
…”It’s a Win-Win Situation.” They pay for your education, and all you have to do is make them look good, but not superficially of course.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
DNIMAS is like a door buster… if I need another academic opportunity in life, lets say an internship, I bring out my door buster.
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
… DNIMAS was just a stepping stone to my other ambitions. A goal I wanted to achieve as soon as I graduated high school was traveling every year to a different location other than the east coast, where I have resided for about 18 years of my life. Since my induction into DNIMAS, I have traveled to Iowa, Texas, California, Florida, Japan, list goes on.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
Computer science competition, movie competition, photoshop activities, blogging, occasionally drawing, watching por… I mean “movies”… >_>
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
Easy, my very last semester near the end when JP Mathis and I were talking to Dr. Alicia McClain. She really explained how she viewed me, and not only did she respect me for who I am, but she loved me for the same reasons. Even though, some aspects irritated her a bit I think. But that’s love right?
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
… Good gracious, I hated APS (Applied Science Seminar). It was mostly useful for my very first semester, after that it was boring, especially since most of the speakers were of Biology or Chemistry background, and not of Computer Science.
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
…Everything of course. A single alternate decision, action, or even “non-action” at any point of time creates a completely different path in the Space Time Continuum… … … … Parallel Universes O_O
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
HYFR! *Drake* I try to keep in constant contact with people I talked to regularly in undergrad. I talk to the lovely, but annoying Serenity usually on a day to day basis. As for my ugly room mate, … well he ugly so… For those not on a constant basis, I use social networks such as facebook and twitter to check up on people every so often.
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Use the door buster every chance you get. Carpe Diem. No Regrets. Live and Feel Alive. We Eat Everything Delectable. Be Lazy, but Lazy at the Same Time. o_0 #EGOThoughts o_0


Carolyn Smith

Posted: November 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
Where are you from?
Newport News, VA
Where are you now?
Glen Burnie, MD
What year did you graduate?
2008
What was your major?
Computer Science and Mathematics (dual major)
Do you have any advanced degrees?
I am currently one class away from a M.S. in Computer Science with an emphasis in Networking and Telecommunications from John Hopkins :)
What are you currently doing(professionally)?
In addition to working on my degree part-time, I work as a Penetration Tester for a contracting company.
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is a four year scholarship program for students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  It starts out with a bridging program to access your math and science skills and quickly moves to fours years packed with developing your skills in your field of study as well as developing a breadth of knowledge in general studies.  DNIMAS encourages internships every summer as well as volunteer work in the community.  The best part about DNIMAS was that there was an extremely dedicated staff behind you.
How did DNIMAS helped you get to where you are?  
DNIMAS really helped me to push myself for something greater. The speakers from APS offered different definitions of success and why all of them were built on hard work and sacrifice.
How did DNIMAS help me non academically/professionally?
Through the volunteer portion of the program, I learned the importance of giving back to the community which I probably wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been in this program.  This experience is part of the reason I participated in several recruiting efforts (career fairs, doing classroom talks, etc.) aimed at recruiting NSU scholars.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?  
Some of the activates I participated in were Spartan Calvary, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), ACCESS tutor, volunteering for the Red Cross, volunteering at Booker T. Washington High School, volunteering for a local boy’s basketball team doing web site maintenance, and volunteering for the C.L.E.A.N. program.
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
There are so many..probably going to the Sweat Box as a freshman and my friend and I leaving each other ridiculous notes on the whiteboards outside our dorm room doors.
Least liked:  I would have to say the mandatory study session were my least favorite.  I preferred to study in front of the television ;)
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
I would have some student loans.  I wouldn’t have pursued any additional degrees or certifications because I wouldn’t have really known my potential or would have been too far in debt to consider it.  I probably would have a different outlook on the world as well.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Yes
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
It is really important to take the time to get to know your DNIMAS family and the NSU faculty.  You might be surprised to find out just how many of them you will run into/need to network with once you graduate from NSU.  Never be afraid to ask for help.  Most importantly, take the scholarship seriously – enjoy your time as a college student but don’t forget why you are in the DNIMAS program.