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This is Our Future: Highlighting Virgin Islands Women Blazing the Trail in STEM

The Virgin Islands although small is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the world. These local young women are some of the trailblazers who are striving to accomplish great things in the STEM field. They’re also helping to inspire the next wave of scientist who will help answer and solve the Virgin Island’s toughest problems.

Shelsa Marcel

Shelsa Marcel is a Research Associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a graduate of the University of The Virgin Islands with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. She is currently on track to have her Doctorate’s in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology by Mid 2020, She is also a 2019 recipient of the nationally renowned HHMI Gilliams Fellowship.

Using her resources, education, grace, confidence and ingenuity, soon-to-be Dr. Marcel is striving to create a pathway in which the next generation of women in STEM can succeed. She looks forward to being in a position to help inspire and influence those around her. She strives to represent the great work that a woman from the Virgin Islands can and will accomplish.

Jonique George

Jonique is a PhD candidate at the esteemed Boston University. Born and raised on the Island of St. Croix she currently works in the Laboratory for Translational Epilepsy at Boston University. Her research uses animal models to help try to understand the deficits in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

She is inspired by the female science teachers she had over the years in St. Joseph School on the island of St.Croix. Although, she felt inspired to become a scientist she was constantly told that these positions of innovations were normally for men. Her goal is to become an inspiration to other young women. She hopes that her future successes can help signify that black women are more than just their stereotypes and can do anything they put their minds to.    

Jewel Cumberbatch

Jewel Cumberbatch is on the forefront of trying to improve the quality of life for those in developing nations through green energy technology. This St. Croix native is currently a Laboratory Manager and Compliance Specialist at the University of the Virgin Islands. She is also working on the Board of Directors for the St. Croix Environmental Association. If that was not enough, Jewel Cumberbatch is also the current President of the esteemed St. Croix Rotary Club. 

When she is not striving to better the community through her various hats, activism, and community service this trailblazer strives to combat the United States Virgin Islands active climate change problem through innovation, building restructuring, and sustainable agriculture. 

Keshia Zamore

Keishia Zamore is an innovator, a ceiling breaker, an absolute trailblazer. She is a current 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar. She is also a mechanical engineer who first studied at the University of the Virgin Islands then at The University of Florida. She is currently works as a software engineer at JP Morgan, and also a teacher’s assistant at the University of Florida.

She states, ” My hopes and dreams are to come back to the Virgin Islands and create programs that expand on engineering basics such as machine design and 3-D printing. I also want to provide a great after school program that will allow students to think critically and dream big. I was given all these opportunities when I was in high school and I feel that there are many more students who deserve these opportunities as well”.

Gemel Joseph

Gemel Joseph

This University of the Virgin Islands Alum was born on the island of St.Croix. She is well versed in St. Croix public schools as she attended the Ricardo Richards Elementary School, John H. Woodson Junior High School, and the St.Croix Educational Complex High School. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology from UVI in 2014. She is currently a 5th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is set to graduate in May of 2020.

Her goals are to enter the field of Public Health focusing on Microbiology and Infectious Disease or to work in The Research and Development Industry. The message that she tries embodying is that with a growth mindset anyone can do anything. She further explains, “As a little black girl from the Caribbean and first-generation college student, I have been continuously blessed because I learned to say ‘yet’ after every ‘I don’t know’ and strive to never give up”. Truly Inspiring.

Dr. Taisha Husbands

Dr. Taisha Husbands is  currently a resident at Kaiser Family Medical in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Keck School of Medicine at The University Of Southern California. She was born and raised in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas where she attended the All Saints Cathedral School on the Island of St. Thomas. 

Sherika Jacobs E.I.

Ms. Jacobs is a civil engineer from the island of St. Thomas. She got two bachelor’s degrees in both applied mathematics and civil engineering from the University of South Florida. She is currently a Civil Engineer for the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.  

Her message to those in future generations is, “ There are going to be numerous challenges on the way to achieving your ultimate goal, but the most important thing is to never lose sight of your end goal, always be true to yourself, and don’t forget your morals and values”.

Krislen Tison


Krislen Tison a University of the Virgin Islands Graduate from the Island of St. Croix. She is an experienced research scholar with a proven history of working in higher education. A great inspiration to many she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of the Virgin Islands. She attended the St. Croix Educational Complex on the island of St. Croix. She is currently a PhD Student at the University of Iowa. Krislen Tison, during her educational career, has been awarded many national fellowships, and continues to strive and succeed on the national stage.