Keystone Honor’s student Kieara Martin is pushing toward her goal of becoming a physician. Starting her Cheyney experience in the fall 2018 semester, she is now in her senior year, and she can’t imagine being anyplace else.
“Cheyney is a very closely knit community,” she said. “It really is like an extended family because the professors and staff take such an active interest in the students and supporting their interests. We have smaller classes and that affords students a closer academic focus with the professors. They genuinely want you to succeed.”
Martin, who said she’s wanted to become a doctor since the seventh grade, graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia. She said she has always been “the scholarly bookish type” and started her post-high school education at Drexel University’s pre-med program.
“I had plans to attend Drexel University on partial scholarship, but it was not nearly enough. I had thoughts of taking out loans, or even changing my major, which I did not want to do,” Martin said. “My family told me to consider Cheyney University. We went to the campus, and I really liked the surroundings. I received a call after the visit from Jeff Jones, the executive director of enrollment. We discussed my GPA and SAT, and my options at Cheyney. That led to a scholarship based on my credentials.”
Since becoming a student at Cheyney, Martin worked last winter, spring and summer at the Epcot Crenshaw facility on the campus and she has also interned at the university’s aquaponics lab. She has had several different duties at Epcot Crenshaw, and one of the first was to update the chemical inventory.
“Another intern and I got to work,” she said. “We created a new barcode system for the entire inventory. Over the summer I helped manage the greenhouse and that was extremely interesting. I did a bio-char study, focused on the effect of biochar on pea and tomato plant growth, when added to soil.” Biochar is a product of charcoal that is used to enrich farming soil, trap carbon and is useful for the retention of water. Studies are showing that it could save farmers on irrigation costs.
Dr. Steven Hughes, who heads the Aquaculture Research and Education Laboratory at Cheyney said he met Martin while looking for an intern to help with a project that the university had with the U.S. Forest Service.
“The project involved going into the local forested areas and looking for insect pollinators and trying to identify them and assess their impact in this environment,” Hughes said. “Along with all the fieldwork that we did together on this project, she very quickly found time to work in the aquaculture lab and quickly became one of the people we routinely depended on for almost a year and a half. Along with her inquisitive nature and positive personality, Kieara showed that she was truly a solid researcher who can take a project from beginning to end.”
Martin said she has gained a greater appreciation and respect for Cheyney’s historical importance to the African American community and the nation.
“Being at Cheyney has really broadened my scope regarding the sciences. My hope is it becomes the Mecca of HBCU’s in the future,” Martin said. “Being a Cheyney student has given me a certain pride from knowing its history, traditions and given me a greater appreciation for our shared history as a people. At Cheyney University, a student is more than just a number.”