FAMU Kicks Off STEM Week Activities

April 10, 2024
Keynote speaker Dr. Tamia Potter
Keynote speaker Dr. Tamia Potter made history by becoming the first African American female to join the neurosurgery residency program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) pioneering alumna Dr. Tamia Potter, will be the keynote speaker for STEM Day activities on Saturday, April l3, designed to promote science, technology, engineering, and math among kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school students.

A year ago, Potter made history by becoming the first African American female to join the neurosurgery residency program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Potter was raised in Tallahassee and Wakulla County by her mother, who is a nurse, and father, who served more than 30 years in the Army National Guard.

As a student at Wakulla High School, she earned her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. At age 17, she worked her first job at a nursing home. In 2018, Potter earned her bachelor’s in chemistry with a minor in biology and took her talents to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated in May 2023.

“I have started residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in neurological surgery and can’t wait to see what the next seven years have in store,” Potter said of her career journey.

Potter will address those gathered for STEM Day activities at the Al Lawson Multipurpose Center at 8 a.m. Demonstrations and sessions will be held in the various STEM-related colleges and schools ending at 2 p.m.

Saturday’s day-long activities will be a culmination of STEM Week. Among the sponsors are the National Science Foundation Undergraduate Program (NSF-UP), FAMU Office of Title III Programs, FAMU Office of STEM Outreach, and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The focus is on promoting STEM on campus as well as encouraging future generations of students to study science, technology, engineering, and math.

“I firmly believe that STEM week is not just an event; it’s a vital cornerstone in our mission to cultivate innovation, critical thinking, and excellence in scientific disciplines for students in middle and high school,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Allyson L. Watson, Ph.D. “STEM Week shapes the future of our college students by illuminating the path for them to become tomorrow’s leaders. We are demonstrating with hands-on experiences in STEM how to address the knowledge and skills to tackle the complex challenges of our time.” 

Among the highlights of the week are events sponsored by the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the Los Alamos National Lab, the Boeing Corporation, and others.

STEM Week Flyer

Lewis Johnson, Ph.D.,associate provost for Student Success and Strategic Initiatives, and principal investigator with the HBCU-UP STEM Center for the Advancement of Learning, Achievement and Research, is impressed by how much STEM related activities on campus have grown over the past decade.

“Ten years ago, we hosted our first STEM Day with only 85 attendees. Since then, we have grown ten-fold and couldn’t be happier,” Johnson said. “We feel thrilled to share the magic and wonder of science with K-12 students and their families. We genuinely believe that STEM will play a vital role in solving many of the world’s problems, and we want all communities to be part of the solution. To expand our efforts, we are excited to announce our second STEM Week. We will have engaging activities for our FAMU students and the community. We can’t wait to have you join us and experience the joy of STEM.”