Maya Nilkant

Overcoming Challenges Award

Blog Post created by Maya Nilkant on Jun 6, 2017

By Amy Balija


     The 2016 Overcoming Challenges Award winner is Jherian Mitchell-Jones from College of Saint Benedict/St. John’s University. Jherian grew up in a challenging environment, experiencing abuse, being surrounded by drug users, and being placed in foster care. These negative experiences impacted her education so that she was unable to read and write proficiently and she struggled in math classes. However, in 2010, she took charge of her life, dedicating herself to her studies and developing a healthy lifestyle. By the time she graduated high school, Jherian ranked third in her graduating class and had taken several advanced courses.

     Jherian was then accepted into the College of Saint Benedict’s NSF Future Chemistry Scholars S‐STEM Program (FoCuS). Although only having completed her freshman year, Jherian is known for her maturity and dedication to succeed.  Her advisor speaks to her desire to excel by being hired as a tutor to students and her preparedness to begin research.

     To celebrate her accomplishments, Jherian was presented the Overcoming Challenges Award at the WCC Luncheon. John Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Chemists With Disabilities, gave a heartwarming introduction. Jherian was then presented with a plaque and a monetary gift.  Congratulations, Jherian!