Black Skin and a Learning Disability were all People saw when they Looked at me

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These labels hindered during my most impressionable years. I was placed in remedial English and mathematics classes because my teachers felt it would be a “better fit” for my learning deficit - a deficit believe I never had. I became so convinced of my own inabilities that I would sit in the back of the classroom, silently, out of fear of being told, “Sorry, wrong answer.”

In the midst of chaos, I found my niche in my science class. I never felt incapable when conducting science experiments, and problem solving was second nature to me. There, I excelled and it was evident on my report card and progress reports. Science became my safe haven. Entering high school, I was ecstatic to see honors biology listed on the course roster. I excitedly asked my counselor about enrolling in the class, but was met with a decisive and final “no.” Once again, I was left discouraged and doubting my competence.

2010 became a year of opportunity when I transferred schools. Those labels that once plagued me with insecurity were left in the past. I wasn’t second guessed on my abilities, nor was I shunned from taking science courses. I was finally given the opportunity to thrive, and I graduated in the top 5% of my class, with honors. I went on to attend Hampton University and conducted research at Brandeis University and Johns Hopkins University. I graduated college cum laude with a B.S. in Biology and I’m now pursuing my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati.

Being told NO, opened doors that said YES. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that I received and want nothing more than to inspire children like me, who are doubted and discouraged, to pursue their wildest dreams. With the #MagicCoolBus, we will make this happen.

-Paige Greenwood