Mikayla Harris, an African American student from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, is one of the winners of the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award. She received $15,000 in scholarship awards, among others.
Harris, who is a senior from the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, applied for the Astronaut Scholarship with an aim to represent Black women in STEM.
“There is not enough biomedical research that includes black people, people of color and other minority groups,” Harris said in a press release.
As a member of the university’s Student Research Center, Harris said more opportunities opened for her to learn about research and create research projects on her own. She credits the organization for her recent achievement of the Astronaut Scholarship where she highlighted her research activities.
Harris is one of the 60 students from 44 universities who were chosen to receive the award. Aside from the $15,000 scholarship award, Harris also received her Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence and was inducted into the national Astronaut Scholar Honor Society. She is also set to participate in a full-year professional mentoring program, a professional development program, and several foundation events.
Harris credits her work with MSU’s Student Research Center as being extremely instrumental, in addition to her active membership in Morgan’s RISE-REACHeS program, which she joined at the behest of Cleo Hughes Darden, Ph.D., chair of Morgan’s Biology Department. RISE takes an innovative approach to preparing Morgan graduates to enter Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences.
“Going into the Morgan RISE program, my eyes were opened to the various avenues that I could research in science and opportunities to explore my curiosities,” Harris said.
After graduating a year early in 2022, Harris plans to pursue a MD-PhD degree and study more about racial health disparities, especially the differences in female infertility.
“I want to emphasize how grateful I am for Morgan,” Harris said about the HBCU. “Morgan has definitely prepared me for opportunities like this scholarship and upon graduation, I will be prepared for opportunities to pursue what I really am interested in, which is helping my community and underrepresented individuals.”
This story first appeared on Blacknews.com.