The unprecedented global shutdown has disrupted not only the economy but social traditions such as weddings, funerals, birthday parties, and other gatherings. Particularly challenging are graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020. The recognition of a graduate’s accomplishments is a time-honored tradition that gives degree-seeking students a moment to shine amongst their peers and family. The shutdown has taken away that moment leaving many to find alternative ways to celebrate. As discouraging as that may be to some, there are those who continue to find a silver lining.
Mr. Tyshawn Ferrell, a biology STEM major at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia, is not letting current circumstances discourage him. The senior, who has a 3.91 GPA, plans to attend graduate school in 2021 for a Ph.D. in a biomolecular field while starting his own plant nursery.
When asked about his college experience Mr. Ferrell states, “I am grateful for my education at Albany State University and to all the mentors that took me under their wing, especially Kenton Meonard, Dr. Wrensford, and Mr. Hankerson. Without this experience, I wouldn’t have developed my appreciation for [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] HBCUs, which serve as a place for self-reflection and identification. Through struggling and perseverance, I was able to achieve accomplishments that I couldn’t get anywhere else.”
Concerning his future, Mr. Ferrell says, “I aspire to attain a full-time research position in the governmental sector after completing graduate studies. Within that field, I hope to answer questions that will improve public health by identifying molecular interactions that influence disease amongst different populations. As we evolve, so do the diseases that plaque our society, and our survival depends on our knowledge and perseverance. Insight on molecular interactions in the ecosystem is essential for public health and environmental stability.”
Mr. Ferrell is persistent in achieving his academic goals. His long list of accomplishments includes recipient of the Hope Scholarship, Sigma Gamma Rho Scholarship, and S-STEM Scholarship. He is on the Dean’s list, a GA Tech Focus Scholar, James Porter Scholar, and Albany State’s Center for Undergraduate Research award recipient.
He is also conducting environmentally based research which is funded by the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, Georgia and by The Department of Education Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP). With the help of many mentors, he has been able to refine his pathway as a research scientist. He seeks to improve diversity and competency within the scientific and non-scientific communities through conferences and collaborative efforts.
Even with a full plate of academic honors, Mr. Ferrell is involved in extracurricular activities such as fishing, gardening, acting, mentoring, and writing poetry. He is part of the garden club and literature club on campus and was once part of Phreshlife a modeling troupe and was an actor with the Théâtre Ensemble.
Mr. Ferrell’s words of wisdom for his fellow classmates are, “Your worth is in your hands, don’t let defeat or someone else define you. Take the time to appreciate yourself and form mutual relationships that promote personal growth, support, perseverance, and the betterment of your community.”