5 Things I Wish I Knew as a STEM Student

By Je’Coiya Moore ‘19 

Je’Coiya Moore 

Centre College Class of 2019 

 Behavioral Neuroscience Major  

Boston, MA

Je’Coiya Moore is a second-year teacher at Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). She is also in her last year of her master’s program at the University of Louisville. Since becoming a teacher, Je’Coiya has become a lot more interested in education policy. She looks forward to continuing her education and becoming an executive in an education-related field. Her favorite experience at Centre is brunch on the weekends with her friends. According to Je’Coiya, it was so nice to be around her friends and not have to worry about school – for a few hours anyway. 

What 5 things do you wish you knew as a Black STEM Major (with an extra)?   

  1. First and foremost, I wish I had known how lonely it would be being a Blackwoman (not a typo) pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree. Unfortunately, during my time at Centre, there were not many Black students majoring in STEM nor were there any professors of color – Non-Black People of Color (NBPOC) or Black – in the science department. This presented an interesting situation for me as a young Black scholar who was not accepted by peers nor given mirrors. Mirrors are important because they allow people to see themselves in others and in positions of power, love, and light.   
  1. I wish I had known how interesting the science faculty was/is. Centre’s professors come from a wide array of backgrounds and hold many identities. There are still times where I wish I had used so and so’s office hours a little more or stayed after class a few more minutes. I have always been an independent person, so office hours were never the first thought in my mind (even in chemistry, which I sucked at!).  
  1. Adding on to my horrible stint with chemistry, I wish I had known earlier to follow my passion. Initially, I came to Centre with the intent to major in biology, as it was my favorite subject in high school, and I enjoyed learning about the body. Well, funny enough, when I was a young girl (about 3 years old), I had a horrible concussion from playing in preschool and had to make frequent trips to the neurologist’s office. I vividly remember wanting to be a neurosurgeon and being gifted Ben Carson’s book – Gifted Hands. At Centre, after taking a required BNS (Behavioral Neuroscience) and PSY (Psychology) course, I was sold. My latent passion was uncovered, and I fell in love with science all over again.  
  1. The moment I realized that I was paying for the “Centre Experience,” I began to take advantage of all that Centre has to offer. I traveled abroad twice—to Israel and Jordan for a CentreTerm and to Shanghai for a semester—and had the experiences of a lifetime. Additionally, I conducted research with two separate professors and became a published researcher. I also took many different classes in the anthropology/sociology department (and would’ve minored or double-majored if it wasn’t too late). You only have averagely four years at Centre. Make every moment count. As a STEM major I was told multiple times that I wouldn’t be able to go abroad etc. But I wrote my own story and walked my own path.  
  1. Lastly, I wish I did not pressure myself so much. As STEM majors, we are taught that to be attractive we need great GPAs and even greater resumes. While this is motivating for some, for others it creates unnecessary tension, anxiety, and doubt. I will never forget being in CHE 131 with Professor Fieberg my first semester at Centre and crying every day because I thought I was dumb. I finished the course with a C and even got two Ds in 132 and Organic. It was horrible! But guess what! I still finished with above a 3.0 GPA and I still have a job and a future.   

Any last words? 

As a STEM major, you don’t have to be perfect. Just be real with yourself and follow your true dreams! 

Written by Je’Coiya Moore ‘19 

Edited by Princess Allotey ’21 & Josh West ‘22 

11/09/20 

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