Grambling State University – Two Grambling State students among women featured in EBONY STEM Queens issue
Cousins take inspiration from other women in STEM
by T.Scott Boatright | University communication
A pair of Grambling State University (GSU) students branch out across the country as two of the 11 women feature on the cover of the upcoming issue of EBONY Magazine, due out Friday, February 11.
The pair will be part of a commemorative print issue focusing on OLAY and EBONY’s HBCU STEM Queens competition highlighting successful students in STEM fields.
While the US Census indicates that women make up nearly 50% of the US workforce, they make up only 27% of workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
But GSU students Destney Johnson, a computer information systems major, and her cousin Taylor Johnson, a nursing major, are bucking that trend, and their success in the classroom has earned them the honor of to be among the HBCU students highlighted by EBONY.
Destney Johnson said his passion for technology started at a young age.
“I’m interested in technology because I have a passion for computers, software and hardware,” she said. “From the age of 6, I was glued to the computer and I rarely spent my free time elsewhere. During this time, I learned the basic components of the computer and developed a desire to pursue my education in computer science (information technology) throughout college. I intend to be a computer engineer.
Destney Johnson said she chose to attend GSU because the university recently became the first and only university to offer cybersecurity and cloud computing majors in Louisiana.
“[I was involved in] a program that called for 10 of the brightest kids from across the country to come and study a major in technology, such as computer information systems (CIS), computer science, computer engineering, cybersecurity, etc., in exchange for a full scholarship for Grambling. I’m proud to be one of the students selected for the program, and so far my experience at Grambling has been nothing short of enjoyable.
Taylor Johnson said her interest in STEM came from one of her aunts.
“I became interested in STEM by following my aunt who is a registered nurse,” she said. “I will be a radiologist.
Taylor Johnson said being part of the GramFam was a motivating factor in her decision to attend GSU.
“I knew Grambling State University was the right place for me when I saw the tradition and how it’s family here,” she said. “To be a student here is to continue my generational legacy, and there are lots of smiles and good times.”
Although the number of women, and especially women of color, involved in STEM majors and jobs is not as high as in other fields and majors, there have been a number of successful examples over the years. years, some of whom admire the Johnson cousins.
“There are several that I look up to,” Destney Johnson said. “Katherine Johnson (a mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were essential to the success of the first and subsequent American crewed spaceflights) and Alexa Canady (a retired American physician specializing in neurosurgery pediatrics) are two of my favorites. But especially Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, the scientist who helped with the COVID vaccine. I had the opportunity to meet her and others at the STEM Power 100 Weekend for OLAY event in Los Angeles (last fall).
Taylor Johnson admits that Katherine Johnson also plays a big role in her love for STEM studies.
“Katherine Johnson was a real influence on my career,” she said. “She was very inspiring, especially after her portrayal in the movie ‘Hidden Figures’. She was always striving.
The Johnson cousins grew up separately, but STEM studies helped put the family tree together at GSU.
“I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, but my cousin moved out of state (to Atlanta),” Taylor Johnson said. “I could only see her during the holidays, so the fact that we are in the same college means a lot because now I can see her every day.”
The commemorative print issue will be available Friday, February 11, 2022 at participating Target® stores.