As a youngster growing up in South Carolina, I never imagined I would become an editor, but I have learned that life has a way of bringing about pleasant surprises. Maintaining one's focus on what's important and remaining positive and open to changes are the keys to success. Of course, hard work and dedication play a role as well.
I loved ancient history, writing, and science in school, but decided to major in biology and minor in chemistry at South Carolina State University. As an undergraduate, I took part in the NIH's Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS) and actually worked in a biochemistry lab for a while, as well as taking a biochemistry class--the first chemistry class that really made sense to me. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was falling in love with biochemistry. It seemed to offer the perfect blend of the "science of nature." My other favorite class, parasitology, would also play a role in my training later on.
The next nine years were dedicated to schooling. I completed an M.A.T. in secondary education, specializing in biology, at Winthrop University with the intent of teaching high-school science, but I decided instead to enter the University of Toledo's doctoral program in biology because the kid in me still wanted to learn how things worked. During my graduate training, I studied a novel protein involved in energy production in the parasitic worm, Ascaris suum. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, my research focus switched to cancer and the genes involved in recognizing and repairing damaged DNA. Even though I still enjoyed research, I felt an urge to try something new. Writing had always been a part of my life, so I decided to try and make a living at it.
To hone my skills, I became a writer for the postdoctoral association and Endeavors magazine at UNC. After leaving research behind, I became a science editor for a firm that produces training materials for pharmaceutical sales representatives, a job that prepared me for my current role as MiSciNet editor. Because I have always enjoyed giving advice to younger scientists about the skills they need to develop to become successful, I can honestly say that Science's Next Wave and AAAS have given me my dream job. As MiSciNet editor, I hope to continue to point students of color in science and engineering in the right direction.