Dejah uses her NYLI experience to lead others as she pursues her master’s degree in biology. Learn about her story here!

Former NYLI member Dejah Smith

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Dejah Smith, I’m 24 and I’m a Microbial Genomics Researcher at East Carolina University.

Nice! What sort of educational path brought you to that position?

Well, on top of my position at ECU, I’m also a student here earning my master’s in biology. I was a bio major in undergrad as well, also at East Carolina. I plan on graduating in May of 2024!

How did you hear of NYLI?

Johnette Reed, my mentor and a former NHF employee, gave me information about it at an Inhibitor Summit.

What made you decide to apply to NYLI?

I always wanted to be more involved in the bleeding disorder community; however I did not know how I could contribute as I am a sibling of an affected individual. I applied because I wanted to give the sibling perspective and share my knowledge with others.

How did NYLI match or exceed your expectations?

NYLI provided me with a foundation of professional skills that I hadn’t even begun to develop before the program. The amount of networking and workshops provided a wide range of both academic and professional skills that I always carry with me.

Do you have a favorite NYLI memory?

My favorite NYLI memory would be our team building karaoke that we did in Washington, D.C. It was refreshing to let loose after the conference and be able to have fun with friends.

What’s the most impactful takeaway you gained from NYLI?

For me, it’s that NYLI is a commitment that truly molds your experiences once you are finished with the program. Everything we learn and gain is applicable in our everyday lives and you should take it all in while you have the chance.

Why would you recommend NYLI to others?

I recommend NYLI to others within our community because it is a family that you never see coming. This program is more than just a title- it means advocacy, service, humility and so much more. The relationships you will build within your cohort and across the company are invaluable.

Going forward, how would you like to see NYLI evolve?

I would love to see NYLI evolve in leadership, allowing former members to sit on a committee or help make changes even if they have graduated. I would also love to see NYLI promoted at a chapter level, to encourage more young adults to be involved early.

To learn more about NYLI, visit the Educational Programs page on our website.