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Deborah Chikere

1025

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

One word that I think best describes myself is determined. this trait shows up in different seemingly random hobbies like reading, crocheting, volleyball, or cooking. What connects these activities is me not being able to completely move on from a goal until I accomplish it. Though this can be a tiresome trait, I am grateful because of the achievements I've acquired as a result. Determination has also fueled my passion for the stem field, specifically in the life sciences. I've always had an interest in subjects like biology, environmental science, and mathematics; because of this passion, I have always been determined to be my best in those subjects. Through life sciences, I have gained an interest in social justice for not only environmental justice but also racial justice. Through more research into the topics, I have realized how intertwined they both really are and how much they impact each other. I strive to further my education and experience in the STEM field so that I can eventually enter into a career field that fuels that passion of social justice.

Education

Summit Public School Tamalpais

High School
2018 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology
    • Psychology, General
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
    • Biochemical Engineering
    • Biological and Physical Sciences
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Renewables & Environment

    • Dream career goals:

      Sports

      Volleyball

      Club
      2015 – 20172 years

      Research

      • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

        SENDforC — Research Assistant
        2019 – 2019

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        Hilltop Community Church — Lighting board operator
        2021 – Present
      • Volunteering

        National Honors Society — Treasurer
        2020 – Present
      • Volunteering

        Interns 4-Good — Intern
        2020 – Present

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Volunteering

      Philanthropy

      Entrepreneurship

      Black Students in STEM Scholarship
      The strong smell of spices wafted through the air all through the house, invading my senses. I ran to the microwave, panic swelling within me; I opened the microwave, crossing my fingers, praying to every entity that I didn’t royally mess up once again. When I opened it, a gust of the scent blew in my face, it was a tangy and bitter scent and unpleasant to my nostrils, I started coughing because of just how strong it was; inside orangeish splotches were splattered all over the microwave, the cup looked deformed, partly from the contents inside and the weak exterior. This was one of the many examples of the antics I would get into as a kid. Though these "experiments" weren't very scientifically accurate, I cherished these moments, letting me explore all of the curiosities I had. Ever since I was a kid, science was always the subject that got me excited and interested in my education. My parents currently work in the stem field, which has greatly influenced my view of science. After school up through middle school, before my dad drove us home, he’d always first drive to his workplace to check up on things. During that time, he was still working directly in the lab. I remember that being the time of my life, he would allow me to look around, try on the extra oversized lab coats, and even let me try some of the small equipment not in use; even his colleagues recognized me and let me watch them work too. Those trips were, what I believe, the reason I even became interested in STEM in the first place. They were the reason I decided to do all of those impromptu experiments as a child. Though I held enjoyment for all of my classes in some way, I've always felt the most connected with my science classes, mostly because it allowed me to carry out what I couldn't in my dad's lab and along with my classmates. My favorite years were AP Environmental Science, Biology, and Chemistry. In these classes, teachers have recognized me for my performance and passion in their classes. From those classes, I realized I have a passion for research and experimentation, which was only strengthened by my dad always including me in his home projects that required thinking logically like constructing an efficient greenhouse structure or setting up electronic devices, his motto to me always being “think like a scientist”. During my years of high school, I have been involved with STEM programs that continued my passion for the field. In my time in the STEMforC program led by UC Berkeley students, I collaborated with a student mentor to take and analyze lake samples, come to a conclusion on the condition of the lake, and present my findings to the whole group. I remember the program leaving such a huge impact on me because I finally received hands-on experience on a portion of STEM I had always looked at and admired. More recently, I've discovered a specific passion I have for environmental justice. Combining an interest in both social justice and also biological processes in our environment, I want to get involved in the STEM field to be a part of fighting climate change in addition to the adverse effects the climate crisis has on targeted POC communities.
      Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
      After 16 and a half years of life, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I am just naturally a nervous person. My mom would frequently tell me that when I was a child, I was always worried and asked questions about what would happen, when it was going to happen, and if we were going to be okay. I only remember small portions of that time in my head now, but I clearly remember the majority of elementary school, middle school, and high school being filled with almost constant worry and unease of everything around me. Up until about 7th grade is when I finally found a word for the all too familiar emotion. At a Wednesday night youth service at church, a girl was sharing her recent struggle with anxiety with our group. The concept of anxiety always seemed far too complex and serious for me to feel like I could relate; in all honesty, I didn’t even fully know what it meant so I never even questioned if I may be struggling with it. So the longer I listened to this girl speak about what she was experiencing, the more I began to relate to and identify with everything she was saying. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head and a new understanding emerged. Right when I got home I started researching fervently on the world of anxiety. It only got worse the older I got with more academic responsibilities and awareness of what was going on in the world. It got to the point where I would wake up and feel extreme uneasiness for no reason and there was no shaking it off. What I find most frustrating is how illogical anxiety can be; you know what you’re profusely worrying about is not based on reason, but your body and mind can’t seem to understand that to calm yourself. One of the lowest mental health moments I can think back to in my life was recently in the winter of 2020 in the thick of Covid-19. I was swamped with work and held myself to unrealistic academic standards, while also being extremely anxious and discouraged because of everything going on in the world. I found myself feeling hopeless, emotionally exhausted, empty, and worthless with no escape. When I was usually an ambitious person, I was now a robot who had no hopes for the future and just existing rather than living. It wasn’t until I talked with a close friend that life started to look up; we both shared our struggles with mental health and how we’ve been struggling that year and for the first time during that whole period I didn’t feel alone, I was seeing someone else going through something similar as me and we were able to confide in one another. Coming out of that, I learned how important having a support system was and how much I wanted to support others in a similar manner. I was also able to connect more with my mom who struggles with anxiety and depression; finally opening up to her about my mental health and also listening to her opening up created a common ground and strengthened our relationship. Around this time is when I started looking into the field of psychology as a career; I knew I wanted to have a future job where I could talk with people in small groups and be a critical thinker and researcher. With this newfound passion for mental health and personal experience with mental health issues, I would want to help others with whatever they are struggling with and become qualified in diagnosing and helping mental health problems. Learning more about myself as a person and what makes me anxious made me realize just how common anxiety is and how I can improve my own mental health. It shows up in different situations for different people and creates communities that make people feel less alone and less unheard. I’ve found that it’s easier to function in a world where you know that not everyone is doing “okay”; It not only takes the pressure off of trying to be perfect, but it also helps you empathize with those around you. Striving for improving my mental health has helped me to make better decisions and healthily cope with issues in life. I still have mounds to learn about myself, but I can finally say for the first time in a while that I am excited for my future and all of the twists and turns that come with it.
      Caring Chemist Scholarship
      One thing I've always been firm on concerning the idea of my future is the fact that I want to help people. Even my love language to others has been acts of service, so it makes sense that my interest in STEM automatically connects to that love language for me to get enjoyment out of it as a career field. For as long as I could remember, STEM has always been an important part of my life. Whether it be from subjects in school or extracurricular activities I have been a part of. Two specific areas that I have been interested in that can also be woven together are environmental science and clinical psychology. From what I have seen in my environment, which mostly consists of people of color, my loved one's environments, and the general condition of our planet, I want to use a degree in either environmental science or clinical psychology to help those who have been affected by the overall neglect mentally and environmentally in America. Living in the Bay Area, I've been surrounded mostly by people of color my entire life. In addition to that, in the particular area I live in there are many low-income families. The very apparent thing you can notice if you were to go to a mostly white neighborhood versus my community and others that have more POC residents is drastic. Climate change affects impact neighborhoods of people of color the most because their neighborhoods are not given the resources to combat pollution or water contamination. With a degree in environmental science, I would like to dedicate a majority of my time to fighting for environmental justice in those low-income areas. Also focusing on legislation for a change in these neighborhoods or finding solutions to the water, air, and land pollution that affect people of color. Another aspect I've noticed is the lack of mental health resources given to underprivileged groups. This ties in with environmental racism because there is an expected added stress that comes with living in at-risk areas affected by global warming. In addition, living in a society where you are marginalized will unsurprisingly negatively affect your mental health. With a degree in clinical psychology, I would like to help those affected by mental health problems and be professionally qualified to speak on these issues. As a black female who struggles with mental health, I feel that I would be able to understand those who are also going through the same, especially if their mental problems stem from identity factors like race or gender. Even in areas that I may not identify personally with, I would like to be an encouraging and helpful voice for them to be able to be a source of positive support in their life with all the negativity going around.