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.


Cheree Armstrong

Posted: April 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

 

Where are you from?
Chesapeake, VA
Where are you currently?
Chesapeake, VA
What year did you graduate?
2008
What was your major?
Optical Engineering
Do you have any advanced degrees?
No
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
Nuclear Engineering at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is a program that encourages success amongst is students.  It provides the resources and support necessary to successfully complete a degree in a major in the field of science and technology.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
It provided me with a solid foundation and work ethic to succeed in the field of engineering.
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
DNIMAS gave me the confidence to know that I have the ability to achieve anything that I pursue in life.  It also afforded me the opportunity to network with professional graduates of the DNIMAS program.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
While in college I tutored in the ACCESS tutorial center and participated in various organizational programs.
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
Hanging out and spending time with my classmates.
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 not have developed into the well rounded individual that I am today.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Yes
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Maintain a good work ethic and a good relationship with professors and classmates.

Mindy L. Mayes

Posted: November 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

What year did you graduate?
2007
Where are you from?
Emporia, VA
What was your major?
Biology Pre Professional, Chemistry Minor
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Yes, Master of Pubilc Health (Go IU)
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
Well for some odd reason I believe I have a little nerd in me. I am back in school working on
a Master of Divinity. Prior to this degree I was a project assistant for the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Committee, a project of the United Way of Monroe County. In this position I was able to give literally millions of dollars to people in the Bloomington, IN area who were affected by the 2008 June floods and Sept hurricanes that devastated Monroe County and the State of Indiana.
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is the Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Sciences. It is a full 4 year
scholarship that provides room, board, books and tuition (that’s right it’s all free!) for those
interested in majoring in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related areas. There are many majors to choose from, Physics, Biology, Biology Pre Professional, Mathematics, Optical engineering just to name a few. To get accepted in the program you have to have excelled in high school, been active in your local community as well as do well on the SAT and/or ACT. Now I am sure that we have all heard that nothing in life is free. And that is correct. As a DNIMAS student you will be expected to excel in your coursework at Norfolk State, complete summer internships, volunteer in the local community, and once done at NSU go on to enroll in and complete a graduate degree program. The program is strenuous, but trust me it really does equip you for graduate level work.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
I’m pretty sure I just answered this question above. DNIMAS has prepared me to reach the
places that I am today. I learned valuable skills from people like Dr. McClain and Mr. Parker.
Neither let me get away with anything. They pushed me, and that pushing has made me a
better person today. I have learned how to manage my time, how to not “burn bridges”, I have also learned that DNIMAS is a community. I know that I can turn to any of my fellow DNIMAS Alum for anything within life. Lastly, I have learned that you don’t pay to go to school. All three of my degrees have been paid for!!!
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
DNIMAS has really helped with my time management. When in DNIMAS I knew there were
many requirements that had to be fulfilled. To name a few we had to keep a 3.0 (wasn’t it
boosted to 3.3…there were so many changes during my tenure), attend the mandatory study sessions and even volunteer a certain number of hours a week. I’m sure there was much more but can’t remember all now. I wanted a life outside of DNIMAS and studying, so I had to manage my time wisely.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
I was always doing something. I was a member and officer of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.,
involved in student government, tutor for ACCESS tutorial center and even helped with the
tutoring program at Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church.
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
Sorry Ervin, but when Alfonzo dressed up as you for Halloween. I will never forget that. Who
would have known that the two of you would end up pledging Iota together, that you two would become line brothers. I just have to say lol.
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
Hmmm. Now although in the long run I appreciate these things now, the mandatory study
sessions, begin forced to volunteer (Voluntold as Sharday would say), all the changes Dr.
McClain made when she became the director. I was already doing some of these things. Plus, one of the study session dates conflicted with the sweat box (perspiration cubes for the nerds). Conflicting with the sweat box is not an option.
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
I’d be broke and not a proud alum of Norfolk State University (Go Spartans!). All of my friends who have been to school and had to pay for it are paying student loans out the wazoo. I do have a few student loans, but they were minimal and from my masters degree. I don’t expect my payments to be too large. Also, the full scholarship solidified my attending Norfolk State. Truthfully at first I had no desire to attend NSU. Both my brothers went there and I wanted to be different.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Of course, DNIMAS is a family and families stick together.
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Read any and everything that I have said above. Dr. McClain is serious about what she says, so listen to her. She is wise and she really does care about what is best for the DNIMAS students. Also, I think we sometimes forget but being in DNIMAS is a privilege, not a right. As with most privileges there are things one has to do to keep them (i.e. follow the rules, trust me in the long run you see they are really not that bad).


Sharon Reynolds Banks

Posted: October 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

What year did you graduate?
1994
Where are you from?
Halifax Virginia
What was your major?
Chemistry: Pre-Med
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Yes, MS in Biomedical Sciences from UT Houston
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
High School Biology Teacher
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is a very challenging program for students who want careers in math and science. This program exposes students to math and science by coursework, seminars and opportunities for summer internships.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
DNIMAS gave me the opportunity to get an education, exposure to summer internships, and a jump start on graduate school
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
DNIMAS helped me to learn in an environment that was accepting of me.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
I participated in NSU student ambassadors and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
Graduation! What a relief!
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
I did not like living in the dorm with a lot of females – too much estrogen.
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
I would not have the connection to Norfolk State University that I do.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Yes
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Study hard, take every opportunity to expose yourself to new things, and make the most of your experience there.


Whitney Osborne

Posted: September 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: students | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

What year did you graduate?
2008
What was your major?
Chemistry (Pre-med)
Do you have any advanced degrees?
Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from George Washington University
What are you currently doing (professionally)?
I am working on a research project for the District of Columbia Department of Health and I recently participated in a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute
How would you describe DNIMAS to someone who doesn’t know about the program?
DNIMAS is an honors program for students interested in math and sciences. Through DNIMAS students are exposed to several career options as well as graduate and professional education programs.
How did DNIMAS help you get to where you are?
DNIMAS helped me realize my potential and understand the importance of networking.
How did DNIMAS help you non academically/professionally?
I met several wonderful and intelligent students through DNIMAS. I also made some life-long friendships.
What activities did you participate in when you weren’t studying?
I tutored students at NSU, at my church, and at various Virginia Beach Public Schools. I also mentored three students, worked in my church’s nursery, and sang in the choir.
What was your favorite DNIMAS memory?
The family bond between the DNIMAS students.
What did you least like about DNIMAS?
The weekly paperwork I had to fill out, but that was not a big deal.
What do you think would be different about your life if you weren’t in DNIMAS?
I would not have had a chance to participate in some opportunities of a lifetime and I would be paying back loans right now.
Do you still keep in contact with people from DNIMAS?
Yes
What advice could you pass on to current DNIMAS scholars?
Take advantage of every opportunity you are given and never give up! Not many students are awarded full scholarships so be grateful for what you have.