When NaShea Kendrick was majoring in chemistry at Oglethorpe University, the idea of studying hematology never crossed her mind. Seven years later, she is a Case Western Reserve University doctoral student and recently earned the American Society of Hematology Minority Graduate award. The honor not only covers her next two years of research, but also supports a December trip to San Diego to present her work at the organization’s annual conference.
“I’ll be sharing my research on how inflammation influences platelet function,” said Kendrick.
Kendrick’s love of science, and advice from a family friend familiar with Case Western Reserve, inspired the Georgia native to move to Cleveland for several undergraduate summer internships—where she eventually enrolled in the School of Medicine pharmacology PhD program.
Kendrick is quick to call out that her success is in part thanks to mentors who have encouraged her to be well rounded and helped her develop as a scientist—and, she is also grateful to her fellow students.
“The older students are really good about reassuring and lifting up the younger students and providing good feedback on presentations and grants, or help with assignments,” said Kendrick. “That helped carry me to where I am today and really built my confidence as a scientist.”
Kendrick says she plans to support incoming students as she advances in the program and will share important advice.
“Don’t be too married to your undergraduate major,” is one piece of advice from Kendrick. “Graduate school allows you to explore your interests. I do more biology now than chemistry and that gives me a unique perspective in the lab.”
One of the most important lessons Kendrick has learned in graduate school has little to do with science. She tells students not to compare themselves to others and to be flexible.
“Progress and giving your best looks different every single day, and it doesn’t look the same as everyone else,” said Kendrick. “Also, know that progress can look very different from what you originally envisioned.”
In her free time, Kendrick enjoys visiting the museums around University Circle, taking boxing classes, spending time with friends and attending church. She eventually wants to pursue a career in pharmacology communication, advocacy or public health.