NIDA Diversity Workshop: Dr. Dionna Williams

NIDA Diversity Workshop: Dr. Dionna Williams

Video length: 2:00



Dr. Dionna Williams speaking:

I’m an instructor at Johns Hopkins University and my research is on the role of drug abuse and HIV infection of the brain…and also looking at health disparities.

I grew up in a low-income community and I saw a lot of drug abuse around me.

I didn’t realize that it actually impacted me until I got into doing research and experiments.

I have been fortunate that I’ve had mentors whose work has aligned with my own interest and research as well.

Personally, the really hard things that I have had is that I am the first one in my family to go to college, which I am really proud to say that.

But, I didn’t know anything about academia, when I went to college I was just going to get my Bachelor’s.

I didn’t know about grad school, I didn’t know anything about research, so I had to take it upon myself to really, really, uh, look up and be resourceful and find out how I was going to get to this career path.

I participated in their programming that NIDA had, so in college I was a NIDA diversity supplement recipient and now during my post-doc I’ve been able to participate in their NIDA diversity scholars network, which is an amazing opportunity.

It helps post-docs and junior faculty prepare their next “K,” or “R” grant.

And that ultimately ended up with me getting my K99/R00 through NIDA.

So, I have just accepted a contract position at Johns Hopkins University as a research professor.

So, I will be starting up my own lab there next year.

Um, and so, I am really excited to be able to…being able to hire the next generation of students and post-docs, getting them on the career path and hopefully be awarded NIDA grantees.

I guess my advice to be to other students like me, I think as long as you have creativity, you can be really, really impactful in the addiction field of research.