Gabrielle: Connecting to STEM practitioners

During Pathways sessions, Gabrielle says she got some insight into the medical field through virtual visits by traveling nurses.

She’s a young woman who early in her high school career developed the skill of discernment — and cultivated a healthy degree of skepticism. Gabrielle, a Pathways National Scholar living and attending high school in Merrillville, Indiana, plans on using both traits to start her college career at Indiana University Northwest this fall to pursue her dream of becoming a dermatologist. The National Scholars Program provides virtual delivery of the same research-based Pathways to College curriculum that has nurtured the dreams of high school students of color in-person since 2003.

Gabrielle says she struggled as many teens do, with acne and resultant scarring. But when a friend who also had acne woes came to school and told Gabrielle she found a cure on YouTube — applying toothpaste to facial pimples — Gabrielle wasn’t buying it. Sure enough, Gabrielle’s friend soon developed facial burns, but later was healed by a prescription her dermatologist gave her.

Gabrielle sees healing skin as a vital part of healing souls.

“Not many people around me had acne to my extreme,” Gabrielle says, “and I see that my being a dermatologist would help me work with patients’ insecurities. Once I start learning more, dermatology will be even more interesting.”

During Pathways sessions, Gabrielle says she got some insight into the medical field through virtual visits by traveling nurses, which had her originally thinking that she wanted to be a nurse practitioner.

“Pathways has helped me think more about my future and how I want to navigate my life in college and what I’ll face there, like issues of cultural diversity, how to step up to be a leader, and how to problem solve,” she says.

Gabrielle describes her own leadership style as one of action and example.

“I’m more of a leader who steps up when no one else does,” Gabrielle says. “Sometimes in Pathways, I’ve stepped up first to share good news. I’ve done yearbook at my school and sometimes I’ve had to step up and get our pages done. I’m the kind of leader who sees what people are good at and offers help to people who are struggling.”

Before she starts her fall semester, Gabrielle — whose photography has been featured in Scholar Voices, Pathways to College’s annual literary magazine — plans to enroll in a summer program at her chosen college, where she’ll have a mentor to nurture her development.

“I’m excited for the experience,” Gabrielle says, “making new friends and seeing how I handle being in a different environment and in a different space.”