Nakiyah Shoemake is a Temple University freshman, who is majoring in Neuroscience. She is currently working with medical professionals in the field. Let’s take a dive into how she got where she is now, and why.
Where were you born and what was your upbringing like?
I was born in Conshohocken, PA. I was raised in a two parent, baptist household, and my childhood was great. I mean everything has its ups and downs, but overall I learned a lot and it made me the person I am today.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life that has impacted the woman you are today?
My mom. She always showed that perseverance is key, no matter what life throws at you. You can always bounce back, reevaluate and try again.
How do you feel about family?
My family has always supported, and been there for me, and I can’t thank them enough, family is extremely important, and vital to me.
Can you tell us of your education history and what your goals or life ambition was when you were a student in High School/College?
I bounced around during high school, so I ended up going to three: central high school, penn ridge, and appoquinimink. My goals remained the same throughout: to make it to nationals for track, and be the first to attend a four year university in my family.
Can you tell us of your job/education experience prior to what you’re doing now?
When I attended central high school during my sophomore year I was a part of the C.H.O.P program (children’s hospital of Philadelphia); specifically in the neurology department. I was able to shadow a nurse, and learn what she does.
What was the most memorable point at that job/school?
The most memorable part was being able to see people be so cared for; watching doctors removing whole tumors using radiation.
Is this where you thought you’d be 5 or so years ago?
Five years ago I wanted to be a lawyer, I had almost zero interest in any sciences at all.
What informed your decision on doing what you’re doing now?
My dad was hurt really badly in an accident and could have possibly lost his leg, but due to all the surgeon’s quick thinking and actions my dad is still able to walk today. After that day, I applied for the C.H.O.P program in Philadelphia.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to become a neurosurgeon, and to hopefully go to nursing school down South (and for free!)
What kind of advice would you offer a student, who is undecided on his or her career path?
Think about what you’re passionate about, and how you change the world with what you do.
How would you describe the state of higher education in America today?
In two words: expensive & competitive.
Have you ever travelled outside of the United States? Where, and how does life outside compare to that in the US?
I’ve been to Jamaica, life is very different there, especially in terms of higher education. The United States is blessed with easier access to education than other countries, which is why it’s important to not take it for granted.
What does the future hold for America?
The future of medicine in America holds a lot of benefits for cures, swiftness, and better patient care.
Are you interested in politics? If no, why not? What is your take on the state of politics and the future of American democracy?
Yes, I am very interested in American Politics as we have seen recently that politics and medicine have intertwined. I am eminent in giving people the freedom of choice in all aspects of their lives, even vaccinations and believe that the freedom of choice is sometimes in jeopardy but with the current social media I believe it’s getting better.
How are you responding to the outbreak of the Convid-19 virus?
I’ve been wearing my mask, social distancing, and being covid safe; especially seeing as I’m in the medical field I think it’s important to follow CDC guidelines.
How did you handle the stay-at-home order?
I stayed at home (of course), and only went places I felt I really needed to be, I wanted to keep everyone safe.
What about virtual learning or telecommuting?
Virtual learning isn’t my favorite, but if need be I can adapt to my surroundings, and the new world we live in.
What keeps you going during these trying times?
Knowing that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are handling the situation best they can.
How can the government better handle the situation?
I think being patient with the medical field would be best. Trying to cure things or find solutions takes time, and it’s hard to work under pressure.
What are your hobbies or extracurricular activities?
I just recently just joined a research program at my school that studies the RNA sequences of various species brain’s as they recover from being injected with e.coli. I also volunteer at Temple’s hospital, and am a part of the Black Professional Health Association.
How would you describe your philosophy of life? That is, how do you see this life and what principles get you grounded and moving forward?
I believe that life is always going to throw something, so focus on how you recover, not the situation itself.
After finishing the interview I asked Nakiyah, “What would you say to other women in STEM or trying to get into STEM?” She replied, “Take every opportunity presented, and don’t be scared to push into male dominated fields, make yourself heard and seen.”
Nakiyah Shoemake is nothing short of interesting, I hope this interview has given you hope that the future of medicine is in good and capable hands.