Black STEM Student Awarded $15K To Continue Research Into Racial Health Disparities
Mikayla Harris, a senior from Morgan State University, a school that breeds excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, was awarded $15,000 from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for 2021.
Harris is Morgan State University’s second consecutive scholar to win the highly competitive Astronaut Scholarship.
In a nationwide selection, 60 top junior and senior STEM students across 44 universities were awarded the scholarship, which aids students with mentors, professional and personal development, and networking with astronauts, C-suite level executives, and industry leaders to help advance their careers.
Harris said she applied to represent Morgan State as well as Black women in STEM. But, she added: “There is not enough biomedical research that includes Black people, people of color, and other minority groups.”
Within her passion for STEM, the future scientist’s research focuses on racial health disparities among people of color in regards to “discrimination and its effect on brain inflammation, stress hormones and other inflammatory hormones in the body.”
Harris told Afrotech: “In learning more about Morgan, specifically the Student Research Center, I learned all about the research avenues that there were for people who were matriculating into STEM fields. There were a plethora of opportunities to create your own research projects.”
After recently being awarded the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence, the ASF recipient was inducted into the national Astronaut Scholar Society.
Harris is set to graduate from Morgan a year early in Spring 2022 and plans to pursue an M.D.-Ph.D. to further study racial health disparities — especially in female infertility.