MPP Alumna Receives Funding for Science Career Program

Dr. Hawasatu Dumbuya, alumna of Brown’s Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology (MPP) graduate program, was once again granted funding from the Medford Educational Foundation to support the Science Career Program (SCP) at her former high school.

SCP is a funded-based mentoring program that was implemented in fall 2014 at Medford High School (MHS) by the initiatives of Dr. Dumbuya, while a doctoral candidate in the MPP program, and support from the MHS English Learners (EL) teachers and administration.  SCP’s missions are to encourage EL high school students’ pursuit of a higher education, to provide skills for success within and beyond the classroom, and to offer a view of various STEM and non-STEM careers. The program involves monthly activities, entailing information sessions, personal and educational development workshops, career seminars, focus groups, one-on-one meetings with Dr. Dumbuya and panel discussions with bilingual-bicultural guest speakers.

Dr. Dumbuya currently works as a Senior Scientist at L’Oreal USA in research and product development. Though her parents are from Sierra Leone, she was born and raised in France and came to the United States with minimal English proficiency in 2006 during her sophomore year, attending MHS. She holds a B.S in Pharmacology & Toxicology from MCPHS University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology from Brown University. Her personal and professional experiences plus passion for community outreach and science education have led her to want to give back and create an environment where all students, particularly foreign minority students with minimal English proficiencies, receive continuous support and encouragement for their academic capabilities.

Now going into its sixth year, SCP has had a tremendous impact, giving students the unique opportunities to interact with various professionals and experts on Learning Strategies, Cultural Languages and Evolutionary Biology (to name a few) from leading academic institutions and pharmaceutical industries; to participate in conferences; and finally, to visit a college campus. Moreover, SCP has received extensive positive feedback from both the teachers and students, such as "I like the program because you guys help me to know more about college, get into college and find myself [...] This program helps many students like me learn how to get an education and care about our grades and goals."

Dr. Dumbuya attributes the success of SCP to teamwork and close partnerships with MHS EL department, administration and other offices. She is appreciative of her time at Brown University, as it provided her the opportunities and skills to use her personal experiences and professional network to create a platform where EL students can obtain encouragement for academic capabilities, learn valuable skills for personal and academic development, and most importantly realize their potential and the opportunities available.