The Inspirational Speakers in Science Lecture exposes high school students to prominent minority health professionals and scientists who draw upon their personal experiences and share stories to inspire and motivate students to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Determined, intelligent and sometimes surprisingly candid, the lecturers demonstrate how they overcame many of the same obstacles students are still facing today.

This event is held in conjunction with our Health Professions Forum during the NC AHEC Program’s Future Leaders in Health Care Conference.

Past ISIS Lectures:

(2010) Ernest Grant

Ernest Grant, Nursing Education Clinician for the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center. Grant inspired students to become change agents and works towards promoting better health care. Grant also encouraged students to apply the three R’s: respect for self, respect for others and responsibilities for their actions, as they prepare to become health professionals.

(2009) Antonio Brathwaite

Antonio Brathwaite, DDS, MPH owner of Sanford Pediatric Dentistry in Sanford, NC and former SEP scholar. Brathwaite emphasized the importance of having a plan of action in order to succeed in life. Using his motto “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” as a foundation, Brathwaite encouraged students to think beyond tomorrow to accomplish long term goals.

(2008) Clyde Johnson

Clyde Johnson, assistant director of Multicultural Student Services at Old Dominion University and former director of Health Careers & Workforce Diversity with Area L AHEC. Johnson motivated students with a message full of hope and inspiration: “believe in your self, apply yourself and make wise decisions,” he said. “You can be anything you want to be.” Johnson encouraged students to engage themselves in six key areas: their history, community, family, spirituality, education and, most importantly, themselves.

(2007) Dr. Camara P. Jones

Dr. Camara P. Jones, research director on social determinants of health for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jones enlightened students about the reality of the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation and demonstrated the importance of academic excellence. Jones emphasized her commitment to making the quality of life better for all persons regardless of their background through her own experience as a teacher and a social epidemiologist.

(2006) “Passion, Thought, Action”

Michael E. Bird, National Public Health Consultant, first American Indian to serve as president of the American Public Health Association (APHA).Bird presented “Passion, Thought, Action”, a speech to encourage and motivate aspiring health professionals to overcome obstacles as they pursue careers in health care. He used his own life story as an example to urge minority young people to set goals for themselves.

(2005) “The Haves vs the Have Nots: In health care, does class really matter?”

presented by Gloria WilderBrathwaite, M.D., Medical Director, Mobile Programs at Washington, D.C. Children’s Health Project. WilderBrathwaite reminded students that there is no level of poverty that can prevent them from being educated and made a passionate plea for them to believe in their abilities and have the courage to follow their dreams.

(2004) “Dreams Taking Flight”

presented by Erich Jarvis , PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center. In his 2004 presentation, Jarvis cautioned students against allowing circumstances and temptations to prevent them from reaching their goals, stressing that determination and hard work are the catalysts for making their dreams a reality.

(2003) “PhD’s Plowing the Cotton Fields: Lessons Learned”

presented by Kay Johnson-Graham, EEO Officer, Minority Outreach Coordinator and Recruiter of Minority Student Programs, National Institutes of Health (NIH). Johnson-Graham stressed that students cannot allow their dreams to die simply because they face challenges and urged them to turn obstacles into opportunities, thus allowing their dreams to grow and evolve.

(2001) “Have a Dream and Make It Happen”

presented by Luz M. Calle, PhD, Lead Scientist, NASA Kennedy Space Center and Chemistry Professor, Randolph Macon Woman’s College. For her ISIS presentation, Calle encouraged students to overcome the obstacles that can easily hinder them as they pursue a career in the health and bio-medical sciences. She sent a strong message that being a minority may make things more difficult at times, but that it is not an excuse for not reaching their goals.

(1999) “Break Through! Run a Successful Career Marathon”

presented by Julian Earls, DrPH, Deputy Director of Operations, NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio. In his 1999 presentation, “Break Through! Run a Successful Career Marathon,” Earls paralleled the challenges of long-distance running with the challenges of every day living.

(1998) “The Health Vulnerable: Getting to Higher Ground”

presented by Barbara-Ross-Lee, DO, Dean, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Sister to award-winning singer Diana Ross, Ross-Lee chronicled her rise from poverty to deanship, and revealed the personal and professional motivation behind her life’s mission.

(1996) “A Prescription for Success”

presented by Norman Anderson, PhD, Associate Director, National Institutes of Health. Anderson outlined his prescription for success using the G.P.A. Principle: not grade point average, but setting GOALS, developing PLANS and taking ACTION.

(1995) “Think Big!”

presented by Ben Carson, MD., Chief, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. During “Think Big!”, Dr. Carson urged students in attendance to persevere when faced with obstacles and to believe that their minds will enable them to achieve exceptional goals.

(1992) “Motivating Youth to Excellence”

presented by Debbye Turner, DVM, Miss America 1990, TV anchor, CBS’ The Early Show. Former Miss America and veterinarian Turner stressed to students that success cannot be attained without hard work, patience and sacrifice and encouraged them to give whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to attain their goals.