In this story, Stephanie discusses one of her professors. Even if they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, Stephanie greatly valued their presence in her life, as well as their advice. Their mentorship will stay with her throughout her life.
Annabel: Well, is there one person in your life - maybe a professor at your school, or a relative back in Ghana, or a neighbor - is there anybody that you have looked up to that has had an enormous influence on you and choices you’ve made? Or career goals?
Stephanie: Yeah, there is one person. I mean, to be honest, it was - like - she did pass away. She was a professor at UMass. She was a bio professor. I mean, she didn’t teach because she hated teaching. She was more focused on lab work, though, that was what she did. And she researched cancer and viruses, she was a virology professor, basically.
Annabel: Oh, wow.
Stephanie: Yeah, and - at the beginning, I didn’t like her. Cause, we just didn’t match. At the beginning I didn’t like her. And then, she kept forcing me to meet her, so then, I met her, and, yeah, we just started talking. I’m like, “Oh, okay! That’s an interesting perspective! Let me try this and see whether it works. And then, yeah, I just kept coming to her, and then we built that bond, of talking, and figuring out what I’m going to do in the future. And, yeah. But she basically was trying to force me to go to grad school.
Stephanie: Yeah, and be a scientist! And I’m like, “No! I don’t want to be a scientist!” But, let me see how this goes. I’m going to try your method and see whether it works - if it doesn’t we can think about something else. But yeah, I liked that about - every time I’d go to her, she’d give me the options. Like, you can do this, you can do this, you can do this. These are the steps you can do, these are the steps, dadadadada. This is what I did, and this is what you can do. But yeah, um, she unfortunately passed away. So I felt like it was kind of unfinished. Like, yeah, I feel like we didn’t finish talking about what we were supposed to talk about.
Annabel: I assume that it has impacted your career goals.
Stephanie: Yeah, definitely. I mean - I still don’t want to be a scientist. If she was here, she’d be like “ahahaha! Let’s see what happens in the future.” I still don’t want to be a scientist, but I am interested in viruses and virology, so we’ll see how it goes.