Immersing herself in biology to help finish the fight against cancer
Eyerusalem Lemma (her friends call her Ey) is a college sophomore who, when many of her peers are deciding on a major, has committed her life’s work to fighting cancer. She’s already on track to earn a doctorate degree and is conducting advanced scientific research.
Ey is one of hundreds of people who’ve gone to www.cancer.org/lifelist to make an American Cancer Society life list. Like the others, Ey wants to help finish the fight against cancer so everyone has time to achieve their dreams.
She breaks down her life list.
√ Became a Ronald E. McNair Scholar
The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is helping students from underrepresented demographics prepare for doctorate studies. I qualify as an African-American and woman in science. As a long-life planner, I’m thrilled to make a long-term commitment to biology, years of study and, ultimately, helping defeat cancer.
√ Signed lease on first apartment
I’m finally moving off the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) campus. No longer will I have to share 4 washer/dryers with 150 other girls! My roommates and I are moving into our new apartment this weekend. It will make a great headquarters to plan our campus’ next Relay For Life event. We are all involved with Relay through Colleges Against Cancer. I’m a co-team captain and the publicity director for our campus, one of my roommates is a vice president in Colleges Against Cancer, and the other is my Relay co-team captain.
√ Traveled to 14 states
I was born in Ethiopia. We moved to Oregon shortly thereafter so my father could pursue a graduate degree in agriculture. When I was in first grade, we moved to Fargo, N.D., where he had a teaching position, and when I was in ninth grade, we moved to St. Paul, Minn., where my father worked for the state Department of Agriculture. I love to travel because you learn a lot by experiencing other cultures, even within your own country. Travel gives you a broader perspective and better ability to consider other perspectives when you’re forming opinions or voting. Just recently, I took a civil rights tour of the South with my fellow McNair scholars. It was an incredible experience.
√ Passed Ochem I
That’s organic chemistry I. Every biology major has to take it, and everyone hates it. Well, some deluded chemistry majors like it but only because they have to take even harder courses later. As if it weren’t challenging enough, I had a respiratory infection for half the semester that ran me down to the point where my study partners had to keep poking me to keep me from falling asleep. But with the amazing support of friends and professors, I passed!
□ Earn a PhD.
I’m planning to earn a PhD in cellular biology, cancer biology, or immunology with my ultimate goal of finishing the fight by understanding cancer and figuring out how to stop it. I’m fortunate to already be involved in a research lab at nearby Macalester College through the McNair Program, studying pain in mice. I hope to become more involved in research labs on campus at UST as well.
□ Help finish the fight against cancer
I first became interested in fighting cancer in high school where, without a lot of thought, I heard about the American Cancer Society Relay For Life and signed up to help. When I started meeting survivors and families, and hearing story after story at my first Relay For Life event, I was profoundly moved and became permanently committed to fighting cancer. Although I don’t have any direct experience with cancer, my father passed away from a stroke, so I can empathize with the many struggles cancer patients and their families endure.
I’m interested in helping finish the fight against cancer on 2 levels. On the scientific level, cancer is a great conundrum, and I’m optimistic that we can solve it. On the human level, I just want the struggle to end. With the leadership of the American Cancer Society, we’ve seen a lot of progress. I’m confident it can continue. If people don’t stand up and fight, it won’t go away. I hope that when I tell my grandchildren about cancer, the concept is so foreign to them they look at me in shock and horror.
□ Get my driver’s license
Although I read 1,000 words per minute and do pretty well with some challenging courses, I failed my driving test twice. I have some fear of the immensity of these machines – cars – and the fragility of the other lives out there, so I end up not practicing as much as I should. My friends, however, have pledged to help me get the practice I need!
Be like Ey and make your life list now: www.cancer.org/lifelist. It’s easy and fun!