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From Houston to Vanderbilt: The Inspiring Journey of EMERGE Alumnus, Deronisha Arceneaux


A STEM degree can open a world of opportunities, yet diversity in these fields remains elusive. Amid this backdrop, EMERGE alumnus Deronisha Arceneaux is challenging the status quo, illuminating the path for future scientists from underrepresented backgrounds. From her early years in Houston to her recent accolade as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow at Vanderbilt University, her journey is a testament to resilience, passion, and the pursuit of scientific excellence.


Deronisha graduated in 2015 from the Young Women's College Preparatory Academy in Houston ISD, an all-girls school that emphasized the empowerment of women in STEM. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology at Pitzer College, where she her involvement in the Black Student Union, mentorship programs, and undergraduate research projects revealed her deep-rooted passion for biomedical research—a hint of the remarkable endeavors to come.


Deronisha is now pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Vanderbilt, where she specializes in studying pre-colorectal cancer and Crohn's Disease. Her dedication and hard work bore fruit with the ASPIRE Path in Molecular Medicine Award in 2022. Additionally, she presented her research in various departmental and national conferences and is currently focusing on her first author paper.


Research isn't Deronisha's only passion. She remains devoted to mentorship, works closely with Black affiliated organizations, and pushes the boundaries in translational research. And when she's not immersed in her work, you might find her traveling or roller-skating!


We’re especially proud of Deronisha’s determination amid statistics that show only 1.1 percent of all doctoral degrees in STEM fields were awarded to Black women in 2019. As an EMERGE alumnus, Deronisha embodies the potential and promise of young scholars, pushing forward and paving the way for many more.


Deronisha’s journey is more than just an individual achievement; it's a narrative of breaking barriers and embracing one's passion. As an EMERGE alumnus, her path serves as a beacon for other young scholars, signaling that with dedication, mentorship, and perseverance, the world of STEM holds limitless potential.

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