Case Study: Clement
My name is Clement, and I am an analytical/environmental chemist. My academic interest focuses on providing solutions to difficult environmental concerns using analytical instrumentation such as gas phase separations coupled to ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry. I believe African Americans are underrepresented in this area of chemistry.
I work at the Fernandez Lima group at Florida International University, Miami. Our group develops new analytical instrumentations to tackle challenges encountered in bioanalysis, environmental, and forensic studies. My own research focuses on increasing analytical separations of crude oil and byproducts using complimentary gas phase separations, in this case gas chromatography and trapped ion mobility coupled to mass spectrometry. I have learned how to work with a group of scientists to design an experiment targeted at solving a specific problem. This process also taught me perseverance, patience, and hard work. My research lab experience has taught me how to be meticulous, work smart, and plan.
My advice for underrepresented students in engineering is to be focused, no matter the difficulties you face. Keep going and you will break through at some point. Mentors and leaders should be patient with individuals coming to them because we all learn differently at varying paces. Faculty should not treat people differently based on the ethnic or socio-cultural differences of their students and should see students from underrepresented groups as an asset to their lab, enhancing opportunities to learn and grow.