AT&T #HBCUUnlimited initiative pushes for us to ‘Dream In Black’ and tap into our unlimited possibilities. At a time when things seem to be hard for African American youth, it’s important that we push young people to explore the vast world and remind them that there are no limits to their potential. Sometimes all it takes is a boost of encouragement from someone they look up to. That person can be a friend, family member or even a teacher.
When students attend HBCUs, they are often drawn to the dreams of comradery amongst students that look like them. The band, sororities, and fraternities are often highlighted as a few of the many reasons students should attend HBCUs but the unsung heroes, the professors, deserve some recognition as well.
Roland Martin visited Bowie State University in Prince George’s County, Maryland to speak with Dr. Tyesha Burkes, assistant professor, the center for natural sciences, mathematics and nursing, about how she expands the horizons of her students.
“I mentor students because I want them to be better than I was and to have a plan,” says Dr. Burkes. “I want them to not make the same mistakes.”
Dr. Burkes’ research involves the aging of the skeletal muscles. With her research, Dr. Burkes wants to slow down the process of aging so that individuals do not feel the effect of aging muscles until they are 70 or 80 years old.
For Dr. Burkes, dreaming in Black meant examining her love for science and discovery. “That’s the joy of science,” she says. “We don’t even know everything that we don’t know. There’s always going to be something new to discover. Something new to investigate.”
“It helps that I came back to an HBCU to train other Black scientists to go out into the field and study new things,” Dr. Burkes added. “There also aren’t a lot of scientists who study diseases that affect African Americans or even have African Americans as subjects to see things that ail us.”
You can learn more about Dr. Tyesha Burkes in her interview with Roland Martin above.