College: Spelman College
Grad Year: 2005
Doctorate Degree: PhD in Neuroscience
Grad Year: 2012
Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Neuroscience Scholars Program, Society for Neuroscience, AAAS Science Program for Excellence in Science, UNCF-Merck Undergraduate Fellowship
About Magurite: I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I moved to Atlanta to attend a historically black college because I wanted my college experience to full of my culture and learning what it means to be an American Black woman in the 21st century. After finishing my degree in biochemistry, I moved to Pittsburgh to pursue my PhD and to study how the brain develops throughout adolescence. In Pittsburgh I found my calling to fuse my love of science with my love of teaching and mentoring. I was heavily involved in outreach work and became advocate for science research and education. I recently relocated to Portland, OR, after completing my PhD, to accept a research position in a Neuroimaging laboratory that studies ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder and to help develop the lab's outreach program (YES! Youth Engaged in Science Outreach Initiative) for underrepresented minority children throughout the Portland area. I love my job and the work I am able to do. It is rewarding and fulfilling.
There are very few Black women in science to look up to as role models or mentors. There are few people of color, in general, in the sciences. It's hard to aspire to be something that you can't visualize yourself being. I never imagined that I would have a PhD studying neurodevelopmental disorders (like ADHD) at a research institution because I never thought a girl like me had this kind of career. It's hard to find people that relate to your background and experiences. I've often felt alone and isolated. Now that I've made it to where I am, it's extremely important to me to be an example and role model to other kids interested in science. I want to provide them with the opportunities to pursue their interests and skills, and show them that they can be something other than what they see every day.
YES! Youth Engaged in Science Initiative is a multi-faceted program started by the Fair Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Oregon Health & Science University aimed at exposing underrepresented students to science, scientific research and related careers. YES! is designed to get kids excited about science through education, mentorship, and hands-on experience. The program also educates families about mental health and the importance of community participation in biomedical research, with the hopes of increasing enrollment of underrepresented populations in clinical studies.
Through various educational outreach programs, we aim to end health disparities in underserved minority communities. Our approach to addressing these issues is to offer enriching science educational programs to middle- and high-school students (and their families) of underrepresented populations. We believe that these programs will bridge the gaps in educational and health equity between OHSU and the Portland, OR community at large.
What is your life's mission?
My life's mission is to change the world for the better by positively motivating and impacting our youth. Investing in our children's futures is important and necessary.
What does being a black woman mean to you?
As a Black woman today, I am the legacy of those that came before me. My ancestors had a troubled but rich past and it is important to me continue to strive for progress and lift as I climb.
"Now that I've made it to where I am, it's extremely important to me to be an example and role model to other kids interested in science. I want to provide them with the opportunities to pursue their interests and skills, and show them that they can be something other than what they see every day."