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Black in STEM


Jene Goodwin.

Jene' Goodwin


Major and Degree Pursued: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S.

Prospective Graduation Year: 2024

Current Position: Vice President, Minority Association of Pre-medical/Pre-health Students (M.A.P.S.)

Connect: LinkedIn | Email


What motivates you to do/pursue science and/or medicine?

Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my pediatrician, and it wasn't until later in life that I realized that was uncommon, especially in the African American community. As a child, I loved being able to go see my doctor when I was sick or faking being sick. And I always felt heard and comfortable to share anything that had to do with my health. Sick visits turned into laughs and free toys from the office, maybe even stickers, too. It was nothing short of a good time for me. If anything, I looked forward to my visits because I thought Dr. O was awesome, and I still do to this day. Having a doctor I could rely on and trust made a world of a difference to me and made me consider taking up a career in medicine. I want to make people see how making their health a priority doesn’t have to be this unbearable experience that you oftentimes hear about. I honestly just wanted to be someone’s Dr. O. For that to happen, I made the commitment to take up a career in medicine and have never thought of looking back.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

As someone who considers themselves a lifelong learner. Black History Month to me is a symbol of awareness and education. Being an African American female in a male-driven field has allowed me to take an intersectionality approach to education: an approach that understands the privilege of being able to pursue secondary education because I know many who were not able to; one that makes me aware of the challenge that comes with being an outlier in STEM, but one that also knows the strength it takes to carve a path for yourself. I think Black History Month is a time to reflect on all the traits and characteristics that make up a person such as myself and see how we, or I, fit into Black history, because I think what makes Black History Month so rich is that it tells a story that is greater than one person, and it shares the stories of many who contribute to the enrichment of Black people as a whole.


Anything else you would like to share.

One thing I would like to share is how the premed journey is not as smooth as Instagram makes it look. I know for me, I kind of felt like a little fish in a big pond when coming to Penn State, because I am from a smaller town, so it was a huge adjustment. Then, on top of it, I came during the COVID-19 pandemic, which really took a toll on my grades with online learning, my mental health with being so far from home, and a little bit of anxiety with being 1 of 300 in my classes. But living in BIOME, one of Penn State’s Living Learning Communities, during my first year and meeting a majority of my friends and joining clubs like M.A.P.S. that fit my interest, I was able to make a new home for myself right here in Pennsylvania—something that I never thought was possible and I am forever grateful for.