Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pathologists Terrill Tops and Dorkina Myrick

Terrill Tops grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his aunt, Rita Booker, who was a single mom, and her daughter. "My family always said that I could be whatever I wanted to be in life," he says. Booker made sure Tops was well-informed about careers in the medical field and knew what to expect. His options seemed unlimited until Booker, a member of ROTC, graduated from college and moved the family to Fort Belvoir in Alexandria, Virginia, where Tops entered a large, predominantly white high school. With few other African-American students in the honors classes he was attending, Tops found it hard to fit in. Lacking mentors and role models, he drifted away from science, he says. "The teachers at the time really didn't pay much attention to me because of my racial type."

When it came time to apply for college, his aunt, aware of his struggles, persuaded him to try Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), a small, historically black university in Charlotte, North Carolina. He resisted at first, knowing nothing about all-black colleges. "But it was the best thing that ever happened to me," he says, "because I didn't have to focus on race."

Dorkina Myrick began taking college classes in her junior year of high school, attending evening classes at a local community college, and juggling a grueling school-sleep-school study schedule. "I know [the schedule] sounds sort of strange, but I really did like it. It was a challenge," she says. "And I met some pretty neat people in community college who were good life mentors." She graduated from high school with 2 years of college credits.

Prairie View A&M University, a predominantly black university, recruited her out of high school, offering a full academic scholarship. She was selected for the Brown University Summer Research Early Identification Program, which identifies minority students with an interest and commitment to a career in research. After graduating magna cum laude from Prairie View in 1992, she enrolled in Brown's M.D./Ph.D. program.

Please read complete article (A Tale of Two Pathologists)


RMJ said...

Going to a women's college was a powerful and empowering experience for me. I'm glad to hear that these folks had a similar experience at a historically black college.

Citizen Ojo said...

RMJ - Thanks for stopping by. Yes sometimes being around a more familiar setting gives you the encouragement that you need.

lincolnperry said...

These are the stories missing from black in america 2, Soledad hello...I dont think you get it!

Citizen Ojo said...

Lincolnperry - That is why we have to do our thing and celebrate and acknowledge these stories. We can't wait on the MSM to do it.

lincolnperry said...

Good point citizen, read this article in NY Times...

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