As autumn brings the memories of the start of a new academic year, we here at the Meyerhoff Alumni Advisory Board are starting a new administrative session. The MAAB really wants to focus on bringing the Meyerhoff Scholars alumni together online and off to continue supporting each other professionally and personally now that we have left UMBC.
This post is the first of quarterly updates to get everyone caught up on the latest happenings with your fellow Ms. Please note that alumni news can span from cool vacations to work promotions to entrepreneurial endeavors. We particularly want to share the range of activities in which those of us gifted in the STEM fields participate.
To that end, our first featured alumnus is M4 Dr Damon Tweedy. Damon has had many experiences within and outside of the STEM fields since leaving UMBC. Here he tells us about it in his own words.
What year did you graduate from UMBC and of which Meyerhoff cohort are you a member?
I am part of the M4 cohort and graduated from UMBC in 1996.
What was your undergraduate major?
Biology. I thought about doing an interdisciplinary studies program where I also studied psychology or history, but backed out at the last minute and stuck with biology.
What is your favorite memory from Summer Bridge?
Being around so many African-American students at one time who all had serious academic aspirations.
What was your post-baccalaureate education and where did you receive it?
I received a M.D. from Duke in 2000. I received a J.D. (law degree) from Yale in 2003. My mom was happy when I finally got a job (smile).
What are your two greatest accomplishments (professional or otherwise) since you graduated from UMBC and what makes them bring you pride?
Personally, being married and having two children. That’s first and foremost. Professionally, the publication of my book Black Man in a White Coat, as it drew upon my experiences in medical school, internship/residency, and my early years as a full-fledged doctor, while integrating the non-fiction research/writing skills I began to develop while in law school.
How did your Meyerhoff experience prepare you for those accomplishments?
The Meyerhoff program served me incredibly well during the basic science curriculum at Duke. I didn’t believe at the time, but I was as well prepared as my classmates who had gone to Ivy League schools. Dr. Hrabwoski also encouraged me to develop the ambitious mindset that led me to obtain two professional degrees and to write a book.
What would you most like your fellow alumni to know about you and what you are doing now (professional or otherwise)?
I just want to say that I’m very grateful for the time I spent at UMBC in the Meyerhoff program. I think back fondly on that time. It will always be an important part of who I am.
Maceo Thomas (M1 – Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 1993) took what he had been doing as a hobby for years and turned it into a new business. Along with some friends and fellow art lovers, Maceo launched District Canvas with a weekend-long art showcase in August at the Fridge art gallery in Eastern Market section of D.C. Maceo and partners Bobby Cato & Nickia Jackson launched District Canvas as a way to offer a platform for Black artists and collectors to connect. The LAUNCH weekend included an opening reception featuring four artists, a collector’s roundtable and an artist talk. District Canvas is currently planning shows for 2016. If you are interested in learning more please connect with Maceo at email@example.com or like the District Canvas Facebook page.
Kamili (Jackson) Shaw (M4 -Mechanical Engineering 1997) has had a busy few months. On the service front, she received a NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Torch Award for the Pre-College Initiative Director of the Year in March 2015 and was elected as the NSBE National Professional Pre-College Initiative Chair in March 2015. Professionally, she started a new position at NASA Stennis Space Center in April 2015. Last but certainly not least are Kamili’s recent personal milestones. She was married on Dec. 24, 2014 and moved to Louisiana from Maryland in April of 2015.
Jattu Senesie (M4 – Biological Sciences 1996) would like to let her fellow Meyerhoffs know about her self care advocacy business, Essence of Strength. After years of training and practice as an ob/gyn left her feeling overeducated and undersatisfied with her life, Jattu retired from clinical medicine. She has since decided to use her experience as a recovering burnt out healer to help other altruistic overachievers learn the importance of taking care of themselves. Through speaking, workshops and private coaching Jattu works with clients to simplify their lives so that they can make space for the self care that is necessary for personal and professional achievement. You can learn more about her work at essenceofstrength.com.
As part of her life of self care and well-being, Jattu recently took part in the Wanderlust Mindful Triathlon in Washington DC. This nontraditional triathlon event included a 5K race, 90 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of meditation.
Aimee Joshua (M10 – Computer Science BS 2003, MS 2005) wants to share the news of her new Website and Podcast, Chasing Dreams HQ which just launched on September 21, 2015. Chasing Dreams is headquarters for any and all dream chasers looking for resources, motivation, and/or inspiration. Aimee’s purpose is to encourage people to chase their own dream TODAY rather than wait until it is too late. The Chasing Dreams Podcast can be found on iTunes and Stitcher and features interviews with other dream chasers including a few of our fellow Meyerhoffs whose episodes have already aired or will air in the near future like: Michelle Leon (M10), Nnadozie Onunkwo (M14), and Oliver Meyers (M1). Aimee wants to shine a light on various dreams that people are chasing and not just in the career sense. If you know of someone chasing their dreams and would be great on the show (it could be you!!), please get in touch with Aimee so you can talk.
Aimee would be honored if you took the time to listen to the podcast and if you enjoyed it, please subscribe, and/or leave an honest rating or review. Constructive feedback is welcome. Life is too short to live with regrets. You need to make moves, take a chance, and chase your dreams.
Editor’s Note: If you know any alumni who are doing activities in their professional or personal lives that would be of interest to the Meyerhoff Alumni community please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Alumni News”.