TSUTigers.com continues to check in on the life of members of the softball team while on their summer break. Kierra Ware just completed her sophomore season as a member of the softball team and boasts a 3.735 GPA in Biochemistry.
Q: Have you been enjoying your summer break?
Q: What have you been doing since the end of the spring semester and softball season?
KW: I’ve been working at Jersey Mike’s and Meharry Medical College for a program. I am also trying to get back in shape for the new season.
Q: What program are you working for this summer?
KW: It’s a program called M.A.R.C. (Minority Access to Research Careers) through Tennessee State that is partnered with Meharry Medical College.
Q: What is the purpose of this program?
KW: It provides undergraduate students with training in academic research who intend to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences.
Q: How did you come about the M.A.R.C. program?
KW: I heard the name of the program floating around when I was a freshman but I didn’t give it much thought at the time because you needed to have at least 60 credit hours to apply. But I was reminded of it by one of my peers that noticed I fit all the requirements of the program by the end of my sophomore year, which was to have 60+ credit hours, a 3.0 GPA and major in a Biomedical Science.
Q: Was the application process difficult?
KW: As long as you’re in good standings with your grades, have good relationships with your professors and have a well-rounded character the process itself is not to difficult. You just have to plan accordingly to get your recommendation letters, essay responses and turn the application in on time.
Q: What did you do during the program?
KW: I was a part of a research project that works on the prevention of prostate cancer with Dr. LaMonica Stewart as my mentor.
Q: What did you learn during your time there?
KW: I had to learn how prostate cancer actually works and the science behind it all. Once I got that down, I started working with previously known drugs that show promising results on decreasing prostate cell proliferation. I learned a lot of lab techniques that you could only learn ‘on the job’.
Q: What did you like most about this research project?
KW: I liked everything about it from my lab mate and mentor down to the discussions we had at the end of each day. I loved going through the whole process of harvesting, lysing and loading cells. Getting actual results from Western Analysis or Presto Blue Assay’s was always exciting whether we got promising results or not. It feels good when you come into something completely new, feeling like you don’t know much and finishing with a plethora of knowledge.
Q: Do you feel like this helped you move forward towards your career goals?
KW: Absolutely. It helped me further confirm that I am in the right major while also opening my eyes to other possibilities I could use my major for besides forensic chemistry or pathology. Research is now a bullet point for my career possibilities. The experience and connections I’m gaining here are invaluable.
Q: What other skills have you acquired during your time in this program?
KW: My time-management skills have continued to improve and I have also developed a knack for staying efficiently organized. I feel like school will be a breeze this semester and everything will go a lot smoother because I feel like I’ve taken a big step mentally in bettering myself.
Q: Will you continue with this program in the future?
KW: Yes, I will. It’s a two-year program that requires participation in research projects for a minimum of eight weeks for two summers, along with research projects during the school semesters as well for the duration of the two years. It’s definitely going to keep me busy, but it’s been amazing so far.
Q: Is there any advice you could give to rising students?
KW: Always present yourself in a pleasant manner to everyone you meet because you never know who you may need in the future. Respect your professors, peers and staff even if they don’t deserve it. Stay on top of your grades at all times and keep an open-mind. If you do these things faithfully, I promise opportunities will come knocking in all aspects of your life.