GREENSBORO, N.C. — Each week, Meteorologist Monique Robinson will introduce us to some phenomenal women in the Triad, who are inspiring others. This week, Robinson gets down and dirty on a farm with one woman who wants young girls to know science is cool.
"We aren't doing NASA rocket science," Dr. Radiah Minor, a North Carolina A&T animal science associate professor, said. "It's hard but it's not that hard."
Dr. Radiah Minor is an award-winning associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at North Carolina A&T.
"We are figuring out what we can give to mom during gestation that will provide more immunity in her milk that will benefit the piglet," Minor said.
Minor's current research deals with improving the immune system in swine, but Minor said she didn't always imagine being here, especially not as a college freshman pharmacy major at Florida A&M.
"First semester, I realized actually I don't think this is where I want to be," Minor said.
A journey similar to Robinson.
"When I went to college , I thought I wanted to be a journalist and I didn't do well in a course and, in fact, a professor told me he saw no potential in me so then I was like I don't know if I wanna do this anymore," Robinson said.
Minor said she was focused on breaking a generational cycle.
"I didn't come from a wealthy family and I'm the first generation, but maybe that is why I don't see what some people might see... as a roadblock," Minor said. "I guess my vision was 'there is no block.'"
Minor says a professor her senior year of college encouraged her to pursue this emerging field of immunology and she hasn't looked back.
"This is where I'm supposed to be," Minor said. "There's days where it is tough right and I'm like why am I doing this, but then I have students that have some fear and they come talk to me and I tell them that story about how I didn't take the MCAT and that was a dumb reason, so you don't do something that silly."
College students aren't the only ones being inspired by Minor. Since 2014, over 2,000 local middle school girls have been inspired too. Minor's STEM summer camp helped the university receive it's first ever community service award.
"We wanted to show girls, especially middle school girls, that women can be PHDs and we can be cool," Minor said. "I think I am cool. I have a shirt that says 'I'm a nerd, but only periodically."'
Minor says there have been tough days and she is constantly reminding herself and students a key message.
"It will all work out," Minor said. "It seems hard now. It is hard. You want to cry. You are crying, but in the end right there is some lesson. There is somebody that you touched. There is some testimony. There's advancement and growth from that."