Another glass ceiling shattered!

This past weekend, Kalisa Villafana made history as Florida State University’s first Black woman to graduate with a doctorate degree in nuclear physics. Villafana, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and came back to the states to pursue her childhood dream.

Villafana said she has wanted to be a physicist since she was 12 years old, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. She attended an all girl Catholic school growing up where she was “exposed to tons of physics experiments.” Her teachers at Holy Faith Convent in Trinidad used the physics experiments to help students understand the principles of matter and energy and how the universe works. “From then on, I said I want to be a physicist [and] that never changed,” said Villafana. 

Being an international student, Villafana wanted to make sure she entered into a Ph.D. program where she had support and community. She found that at FSU with world renowned physicist, Mark Riley, who she credits with expanding her access and opportunities. Riley introduced her to a network of mentors and resources. He also helped her to attend academic conferences and conduct research across the country during her time at FSU. 

Villafana served as a mentor to other minority students at the University, encouraging them to pursue graduate studies.

“In Trinidad, many people don’t know how to get to the United States and get a Ph.D. that’s paid for by the school. They don’t know how to go from being an international student from the islands to a doctor in the U.S. I want to show them how to get to the next point,” Villafana said in an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat.

The world of physics is mostly white and male, something Villafana acknowledges. But she hopes that her presence will motivate other young Black women to follow in her footsteps.

“I always encourage young women to pursue what they are passionate about and what makes them excited, even if they are a minority in the field,” she told Because of Them We Can. I tell them, “don’t be intimidated and that they bring new and invaluable perspectives.”

Dr. Villafana’s goal is to specialize in cancer research, working as a medical physicist. She now becomes the 96th Black woman in the country with a Ph.D. in physics, adding a new face to what physicists look like. “You may not see a lot of us but we’re there. We’re out there.”  

Congratulations Dr. Kalisa Villafana! We are all so very proud of you! 

Source: Beacuseofthemwecan

Dr Hadiyah-Nicole Green is the recent winner of $1.1 million grant from the Veterans Affairs’ Office of Research & Development to begin clinical trials to further develop a technology she’s pioneered that uses laser-activated nanoparticles to treat cancer.

Here are 8 things you should know about Dr Hadiyah-Nicole Green.

1.Green was orphaned at a young age and raised by her aunt and uncle in St. Louis Missouri

2.She attended Alabama A&M University with a full scholarship, where she studied physics and earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and optics in 2003.

3.Green continued her education at the University of Alabama Birmingham with another full scholarship, where she earned her Masters Degree in physics in 2009 and her PhD in Physics in 2012.

4.Green lost both her guardians to cancer during her undergraduate days.

5.Green was a member of a team that developed a laboratory method to insert nanoparticles into cancer cells while avoiding surrounding healthy cells in USA.

6.In 2016, Green became an assistant professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in Physiology department.

7.She received a $1.1 million grant from the Veterans Affairs’ Office of Research & Development to begin clinical trials.

8.Dr Green created the technology that kills cancer cells with a treatment using laser-activated nanoparticles.



Source: fabwoman.ng