Cheavar Blair has been at UCSB for two years, and he is a postdoc in the Center for Bioengineering.
Why did you obtain an advanced degree? What inspired you to pursue a STEM-related career?
I decided to pursue an advanced degree because I wanted to become a research professor. After learning more about the roles of a research professor (mentor, grant writer, lecturer, etc.), as a graduate student, I knew it was the perfect profession for me.
What has led to success in your field?
In my field, the key to being successful is staying on top of the literature and understanding the next “big theme.” If you can perform outstanding research, be personable, and form great collaborations, you can gain the respect of your colleagues and garner success.
If you could tell your younger self or this generation’s youth advice about STEM and university education, what would you tell them?
I would tell the next generation that even if they do not want to become STEM majors, you should take a few STEM courses and understand the importance of STEM. The reality is that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are here now and forever. The jobs of the future that are well paying will be STEM jobs, so if you are not equipped with STEM education, you will more than likely get left behind.
What changes do you think could be made so underrepresented people in STEM can have better access to education and how STEM can be diverse?
I believe that the first and foremost change that needs to be made is “inclusion,” black, brown, and other minority groups cannot gain access until our causation colleagues understand the importance of inclusion. Until our voices and options are heard at the “table,” and we have “white” advocates, we will not be fully integrated into the educational landscape and have full access to higher education. Therefore, I believe change will happen when higher-ranking institutional and governmental officials make it a priority to include underrepresented minorities.
Do you have any words about Black History Month?
I am grateful for Black History Month. America has not given black people much, so it gives me great pride for our culture to be celebrated for a month. Additionally, I would like to thank our forefathers that have made sacrifices for our advancement as a culture.
Do you have a hobby or participate in any fun activities?
I enjoy working out, reading and meditation.