Making Science as Diverse as Those it Serves

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Screenshot of Drs. Nora Volkow and Freeman A. Hrabowski

Image by NIDA. 

Working in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) can be a rewarding career path. But if your image of a “scientist” is a guy who has to look like Rick from “Rick and Morty,” think again. The STEM fields are more diverse than you may think, and they offer you an opportunity to change the world and improve the lives of millions of people.

NIDA’s Director, Dr. Nora Volkow, recently had a virtual conversation about careers in STEM with Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Check out a few highlights from their conversation below.

In this excerpt, Dr. Hrabowski, a mathematician, describes what motivates scientists to make life-saving discoveries:
He talks about why minority students can find it hard to embark on a scientific career, and how to fix that problem:
He explains how science can confront racism:
Here, Dr. Hrabowski describes how universities can help develop scientific leaders from diverse backgrounds:

Watch the full conversation.

Many prominent scientists of diverse backgrounds have received degrees from UMBC. Dr. Hrabowski mentions:

  • Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who’s helping develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in her work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Dr. Kaitlyn Sadtler, who’s leading a study about COVID-19 patients who show no symptoms of the disease. She works at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH.
  • Dr. Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General, also known as “the nation’s doctor.”

It’s never too early to start your science career! Check out NIDA’s Addiction Science Awards for young scientists.  

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