Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, a city in the southeastern part of the state.
Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.
I always enjoyed mathematics in school; therefore, when I was awarded a scholarship in the Dozoretz National Institute for Minorities in Applied Sciences at Norfolk State University, I leaped at the opportunity. As part of the program, students were strongly encouraged to obtain summer internships. I spent a summer working in a biostatistics unit of the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the NIH. Thus, began my love of biostatistics.
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?
After completing my graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University, I became employed at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a mathematical statistician at the FDA, I am proud that I am a part of a group dedicated to providing statistical leadership, expertise, and advise to foster the expeditious development of safe and effective drugs for the American public.
In addition to my pride in impacting public health through my work, I have been honored to serve the statistical profession in a variety of positions, including being elected Vice-President of the American Statistical Association (ASA). I have dedicated myself to the profession and in 2018, I was extremely humbled to become a Fellow of the ASA.
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?
My parents instilled a strong sense of service in both my brother and me. Thus, service was something I did in the spirit of doing my small part to positively impact others. In high school, I was recognized by the YWCA for service to my school, community, and church as well as outstanding scholastic achievement. Though it has been decades since I was in high school, this recognition was extremely meaningful as it honored service to others. I have strived to continue to embody the ideals of service throughout my life.
Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.
I was a speaker at the 2019 Women in Statistics and Data Science conference. Though I do not consider myself a poet, I ended my talk with a poem that I penned to describe my sentiments about being a female, African American mathematical statistician. The poem follows:
I am that woman and that woman is me,
Acquiring knowledge, I’ve learned is the key,
I stand on the foundation planted long ago,
I’m rooted in numbers and love how they flow
Now is the present and data abounds,
Quantitative inclinations will need to astound,
And as we look to tomorrow and days to come,
May we solve global challenges, and still have some fun.
I am that woman and that woman is me