- Richmond Public Schools
Meet Ginai Seabron: The First African American Woman Nanoscientist in Virginia
In honor of Black History Month, we had the opportunity to sit down with Ginai Seabron, Virginia’s first African America woman nanoscientist and RPS alumna. Ms. Seabron attended Richmond Community High School from 2010-2014 and went on to graduate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2018. In her interview below, she gives us a glimpse into her world as a nanoscientist, shares what made her RPS experience special and offers words of wisdom for current RPS students.
Can you tell us, in layman’s terms, what do you do as a nanoscientist?
Honestly, a lot of research. I can study foods, medications, the human body, drug delivery or even cancer. No matter which branch of nanoscience is chosen, it involves the studying of something the size of a period (.) in 12 point font.
Was this something that you always wanted to do?
Technically, yes. I originally I wanted to be a material science engineer because I really enjoyed nanotechnology after learning about it at summer camp. When looking at careers and schools with nanotechnology it always had engineering in front of it or behind it. However, once I got to college I found out that Virginia Tech was creating a new degree in nanoscience and I was more than excited to switch.
What does it mean for you to be the first African American woman nanoscientist in the state of Virginia?
It's very unreal. To me, I just graduated from college, but to everyone else I made history. I still don't tell people I'm “the first” because I like for them to actually get to know me. The best thing about becoming the first has been the support and love from all over the world. I have parents, schools, kids, clubs and organizations reaching out to say congratulations and say how proud they are of me. I have been given so many great opportunities to speak to different groups about my life, the science world, making it to and through college, and just inspiring others to do the same. I have always loved helping others and now more than ever I have been able to reach so many people. I will say being the "first" just means I am the first of many more and I definitely will not be the last.
Can you tell us a little about your RPS experience and teachers who supported you along the way?
I was afforded a great RPS experience. I was allowed to be me. I learned my strengths and my weaknesses. I was able to be a part of so many different programs, plays, clubs and organizations, and held many leadership roles. RPS definitely contributed to me being outspoken and fighting for what is right today.
My favorite teacher from Linwood Holton is Ms. Turnage because she inspired my love for the arts. Ms. Melinda Lawson is my favorite teacher from Albert H. Hill because she continued to push me even though she and everyone else knew I strongly disliked English class or anything having to do with reading. My favorite teacher from Richmond Community High school was Ms. Summer Shultz because of her great spirit and encouragement through all the rough days and our nerdy conversations about science in the halls and at lunch. I also attended the Richmond Technical Center and my teacher, Mr. James Carson, was the funniest man around but he pushed me out my comfort zone a lot, especially when convincing me to join TSA and competing, but I thank him for that. My biggest mentor then and now is Ms. Bernita Williams, the guidance counselor at Richmond Community High School. She helped me with researching schools, finding scholarships, stayed on me about my grades and deadlines, and even helped me through my personal growth. I am truly blessed to have had her and Mr. Brown (former principal at Richmond Community High School) in my circle of support.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I am still trying to narrow down all of my options. Not necessarily omitting my options but choosing which one I want to do first. Right now, I’m taking a gap year. Five years from now I see myself in school getting my PhD while still traveling and speaking all over but also being a part of a team of African Americans that not only inspire young people to go to college but also help them find the means to go for free.
What advice do you have for RPS students?
Always do your best because it is constant proof to yourself that you are the best and can do anything you want to do. When things get hard, and you feel like you can't do something, take a second to breathe and reevaluate the problem. Try looking at it from a different perspective, don't be afraid to ask for help, and push through. YOU GOT THIS!