Hello, my name is Jakaiyah Franklin and I am a sophomore here at Duke University. As for my major, I’m undecided, but I know my passion lies in biology, science communication, and environmental science.
Outside of class, I am the treasurer of the Duke Chapter of the NAACP and the LLC leader of the Stem Pathways for Inclusion, Readiness, and Excellence (SPIRE) program. Last year I was stage manager for two Hoof n Horn productions.
This year, I will be starting a research position alongside this research blogger position.
In a more personal sense, I am the youngest of three children and a proud aunt. Right now I say I’m from Texas, although I’ve lived in Georgia, South Carolina, Germany, and currently North Carolina. If someone asked me, I would say that Germany holds my fondest memories; however, I became a better version of myself in every place I lived. Outside of school, I enjoy reading and watching House of the Dragon and early seasons of Game of Thrones. I prefer to study outdoors or in a place with plenty of natural light. I also love learning new things about science, especially infectious diseases.
I find diseases fascinating and believe they are our natural predators. I want to be able to not only understand them, but also, I want to help prevent them. If one had to have a favorite type of disease to study, it would be zoonotic diseases. They are interesting because the fact that a virus is able to jump from a host like a rat to a human captivates me.
After graduating from Duke, I want to get a Masters in Public Health or Ph.D. in epidemiology, virology or infectiology to feed my curiosity about diseases. However, even before you can decide which Ph.D. or a master’s degree I want to get, my current focus is deciding on my major.
I like to think about the future, so for my very distant career, I know I want to be able to see infectious diseases both in the lab and in the places where they infect people. I want my research to be digestible for the general population because, as seen with COVID and Monkeypox, science can be easily misinterpreted if not provided appropriately. I want to prevent this event from happening to me by learning more about science communication and actively improving my communication skills.
I hope this blogging post will expose me to infectious disease research or public health research in general. With this new understanding of research, I hope this position will also teach me how to educate others so they can appreciate and understand science.
Message from Jakaiyah Franklin, Class of 2025