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History making Trini Physicist places God at the center of her universe

When Kalisa Villafana found out she was about to create history by becoming the first black woman to graduate with a PhD in nuclear physics at Florida State University—just three months before completing her degree—her focus was to compel others to pursue their dreams even if there is no-one in the field who looks like you—another young, black person. The T&T born graduate is also ranked the 96th black woman in the US with a PhD in Physics.

“Everybody wants to interview me…I was like ‘Oh gosh, what is happening?’ And then after a while I was like ‘Stop’…. But then I understood…You know when I read some of the messages that people were saying they wanted to do physics but they were afraid of it, then I was like okay. If it makes an impact on one person then that’s a good thing,” Villafana told Catholic News via phone.

She stressed that her PhD in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is the study of fundamental science.

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