Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tales from the 'hood

So today I had 2 breast awareness presentations and the first one was in a neighborhood a LOT like the one I grew up in, primarily working class folks with a sprinkle of Docs/Principals/Attorneys and welfare folks/thugs mixed in. Having grown up in this kind of environment, I know how to put my "hood face" on which despite my appearance and the car I drive, allows me to blend in. And for me, it was like a time warp, this high school, which was probably %99.999 Black, looked, felt, smelled exactly like the one I graduated from 27 years ago. Anyway, I did my presentation and what would have been surprising to many on the outside but was exactly what I expected, the students were engaged, manerable, inquisitive, and very bright.

But when I left I almost cried when I realized that this school is probably EXACTLY the way it was when I graduated in 1984. In other words for so many Black kids, the 'hood is a never ending cycle of untapped and unacknowledged talent that will remain that way for the rest of their lives. I then thought about how my own daughters education, in the best public school district in the US, is eons ahead of this school, yet we expect kids from this school to score as well as my kid on the SAT? Exactly how da' hell is THAT supposed to happen? This school had resources that had to be at least 20 years old and this was a charter school! And if I hadn't brought my laptop with me, my presentation would have been null and void because there was only a projector available for me to do my presentation from ( and when was the last time anyone has seen a projector?)

Okay, Imma get off my soapbox now but I know one day we as a country are going to regret that we allowed so many of "our" kids fall through the cracks while other countries continue to lead the US in the critical areas of science and engineering.

Moving on, I also talked to the administrator for the PhD program that I may start this summer and was corrected in that I DO have to retake the GRE and not only that, first year students take their written exams within the first week after classes start in the Fall in ALL the major areas of Chemistry. And for the uninformed, that's Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Biochemistry, and Physical Chemistry!! P.Chem?? $hit, good thing I kept ALL my books and study guides, as if I had a feeling I would need them again one day!!!! Now someone may be asking where da hell did Chemistry come from? Well, I've already got an MS and ALL my credits would transfer. More importantly, I could concentrate in Computational Chemistry which is essentially the Chemistry equivalent of Bioinformatics. But most exciting for me, is that I could design my own program, which would of course include courses in Bioinformatics as well! Put another way, exactly one year from now, I could have nothing to do but my dissertation research (at the NCI) and defend it when I'm done!

BUT, what about my MCAT studying, there's no way in hell I can do ALL this including the courses I'm currently taking at the same time, but this is all VERY premature thinking since I haven't been accepted yet.

So in the absence of an acceptance, I'm still on the original plan, get my cert in Bioinformatics and prepare to take the MCAT this August. :)

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