As a teenager growing up in Hillsborough, Kizzmekia Corbett had never seen a Black scientist before. Then she walked into a lab at UNC-Chapel Hill one summer, met Albert Russell, a PhD student, and for the first time believed she could be one.
Now, at 34, Corbett is the scientific lead for the government’s search for a coronavirus vaccine at the National Institutes of Health.
“It made all the difference, I’m probably here because of that,” Corbett said. “Just knowing that it was possible.”
She’s become that example that she never saw and is now an assurance to other inquisitive, smart girls with an interest in science that anything is possible.
Corbett is a young, Black woman in a sea of older, white men in suits and lab coats. She’s making appearances on national TV as a scientific expert, briefing President Donald Trump about potential COVID-19 vaccines and working on