Monet is an Advocate, a blogger, and author
My name is LaDeidra Monet Roberts (preferred name: Monet) and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. During my undergraduate career at Georgia Institute of Technology in Biomedical Engineering, I began my research experience in Dr. Manu Platt’s laboratory; it was here that I first began to develop as a scientist with consideration of being socially conscious as a scientist. Mentoring played a crucial role in my development by helping me expand knowledge of and improve accessibility of the STEM fields for students from underrepresented backgrounds, which continues to this day. I then mentored younger African American undergraduates as well as African American high school students in the Engaging New Generations at Georgia Tech through Engineering and Science (Project ENGAGES) high school research program. I also attribute much of my success as a scientist and mentor through the LSAMP program, an NSF initiative to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the pipeline of graduate school.
Although I am not a first-generation college student, I am the first within my entire family to become an engineer, scientist, as well as pursue a Ph.D., so there have been many experiences that I have navigated for the first time with minimal preparation from my family background. As an African American woman within the STEM field, I have personally experienced implicit bias throughout my journey prior to as well as during my Ph.D. career. I believe the same implicit biases are also amplified as well within many other underrepresented and marginalized communities, including first generation students. Due to others’ limited imaginations of marginalized communities, this negatively impacts students and causes them to surrender their potential to be successful or at least, question their potential. This is often the case in the scientific field, which is why I have made it my mission to try to mitigate this adversity and help other marginalized and underrepresented communities navigate it. To combat this, I am active in recruitment as a Graduate Student Ambassador and attend conferences and seek out students within these communities as well as post most of my chronicles of my Ph.D. on my Instagram to be visible as an African-American woman in STEM (I even have a hashtag that I have started: #confessionsofalabrat). I continue to serve as a mentor/advocate throughout the trajectories of those who I have encountered along the way from my undergraduate career to my current position as a graduate student. I hope to continue to serve in this capacity as a future faculty member and, as I always say, “Be the giant whose shoulders others can stand upon and reach heights unattainable and continue to pass the legacy along to others.”