Two Grambling State University students are on the current cover of EBONY magazine as STEM Queens. The cover showcases successful HBCU students representing STEM majors.
Junior Destiny Johnson and freshman Taylor Johnson are featured in the magazine along with eight other HBCU “STEM Queens.”
Destiny Johnson is a Computer Science major from Atlanta and Taylor Johnson is a nursing major from Little Rock, Arkansas. The two students, who are also first cousins, said they are excited to make history.
“I feel like it’s a moment of happiness to look back and say you made history,” Taylor Johnson said.
Destiny Johnson referred to it as another stepping stone to a bigger accomplishment.
“I’m using this as an experience and lesson that will help me get to even bigger places,” Destiny Johnson said.
The process of earning the experience included more than 60 girls submitting their highlights. The competition was a national competition all over HBCU campuses.
Candidates had to submit a headshot and a paragraph about themselves. It started as an online competition that lasted for a week. The Top 10 women who had the most votes at the end of the competition were selected as STEM Queens. They were invited to Los Angeles for a Power 100 event and received recognition from EBONY. They were also offered a scholarship, mentorship, and an internship.
Taylor Johson, whose career goal is to become a radiologist, said it was quite an experience, especially working alongside a family member. She also acknowledged what representation in the black community might mean to someone, especially young girls.
“It was very amazing to have your cousin next to you while you’re making history. I felt very honored to be there with my big cousin,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to represent black girls in STEM, because you don’t see many African Americans in STEM. I feel like I can accomplish all I can do, but I'm going to still move on and continue to inspire people to do more.”
Destiny expressed the importance that the accomplishment had on her and her cousins’ personal life as well as community life.
“I feel like it has made a big impact not only on our students but on our personal life. It has made a positive impact on not just younger Black women or Black students, but our Black community as a whole.” Destiny said.
Other than making history in the magazine, they are also making history in their family by being first-generation students. With this pandemic, students have to have the motivation to accomplish huge goals.
Destiny Johnson, who plans to be a computer engineer, says her motivation comes from her family, she can help them pave the way and set an example for people who may be looking up to her.
“I'm the oldest out of my cousins and siblings, so they’re watching me. I want them to say there are accomplishments to be made because my cousin or my sister did it,” she said.
The pair said they hope that Grambling can promote more women in STEM and hope to inspire more people with the release of the magazine, which came out on Friday.