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For Isheka, OTF and connections made with others helped determine steps to take once finishing her graduate work.

What was the most impactful aspect of your OTF experience?

The most impactful OTF experience was creating a Pathway Map, which gave me a lot of clarity on where I am now, all that I have accomplished, and the steps that I need to take to get to where I want to go.

What do you remember most from GSA 2022?

I remember the people. I met so many awesome scientists from all over the world who are making great strides as a scientist and also [shared] their societal involvements. I was really inspired! Also, the atmosphere was not tense like at other scientific conferences I have presented.

What was your mentorship experience like? Would you consider returning to serve as a mentor?

My mentorship experience was awesome! I gained so much clarity on where I want to head after graduate studies, how to prepare for this transition, and how to go about seeking the opportunities I am interested in. Shout-out to my GSA mentors, Stan Dunagan and Adrienne Oakley! I would definitely return as a mentor.

After your OTF experience, how do you see OTF influencing or impacting your future?

After OTF, I realized I do more than I give myself credit for and that although I should still actively seek opportunities to build myself, I should celebrate my wins each step of the way. Also, I learned that you should let your interests/passions guide your decisions about a career. Do not be so fixed on a career path based on the title. Also, be flexible and your path will likely not be linear. You may have to pivot at some point.

Why should donors support programs like OTF?

Donors should support programs like OTF because it gives minoritized groups the opportunity to attend conferences and programs that otherwise would not have been possible. Additionally, supporting programs like this gives everyone a chance to access knowledge and resources that can transform their lives.

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