Author: Adiki Puplampu
Date: 12 December 2022
After switching her major from biochemistry to chemistry, Jeronia was looking to gain experience outside of the classroom in her new field. When she learned about the ELITE Program she knew it was the perfect opportunity to gain that experience and network with other Black youths in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).
Jeronia’s switch in major was driven by her passion for chemistry. She sees chemistry as an active science, where theory and practice are clearly connected. Her dream is to become a dermatologist and provide safe treatment to help others become comfortable in their own skin. Through chemistry, Jeronia acquires practical and transferable skills towards this dream such as critical thinking, research, data collection, and teamwork, all while doing work she enjoys.
This summer, she was able to put those skills to the test while working as a laboratory assistant at Innotech Alberta within their Advanced Materials department. In that role, she processed and tested client samples and met with clients to learn about their testing needs. Along with contributing to the important work that Innotech Alberta does to support Alberta’s economy, the most rewarding part of this experience for Jeronia was adapting to the fast-paced work environment, where training on materials testing techniques was done as requests came in, and several requests were being processed a week with back-to-back deadlines.
On her experience in the ELITE Program, Jeronia encourages students who are interested to just apply and not let the opportunity pass them by out of fear. She also has some advice for students making their way through school: “Be patient with yourself. Growing up as a Black immigrant, I was convinced that I needed to have everything figured out career-wise when I got to university. The reality is that your interests might change unexpectedly. It is a very scary experience, especially if it happens quite late in your academic journey but change is normal so take the time to review your options and remember that every student’s journey is different.”