Shameka Davis: Rising Above

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Shameka Davis experienced her first seizure in eighth grade but that seizure was not an isolated event. She continued to have seizures and after a couple of years, doctors diagnosed her with epilepsy.

The diagnosis was certainly a bump in the road but Shameka never really had it easy. Her father, a member of the U.S. military, passed away when she was just three years old. Growing up in a home with her sisters and their children, it was difficult at times for Shameka’s mother to make ends meet. Pair all of this with the struggles of being a high school student and it is clear just how many hurdles Shameka faced.

But she met these challenges head on.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself because no one else is going to feel sorry for you,” Shameka says. “You have to be happy with what you’re given and hope for the future.”

And that’s exactly what she did. During her freshman year of high school, Shameka was accepted into the Northwestern Medicine Scholars program, a partnership between Westinghouse College Prep and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The program’s goal is to partner high-achieving high school students with medical professionals at Northwestern.

“This program is really designed to one; inspire the students to say yes you can do this and two, to give them a preview of what their lives may look like as physicians or PhDs,” Erica Marsh, an assistant professor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, says.

Shameka has blossomed in the program and, inspired by her own experiences, plans to pursue a career in adolescent psychology.

“The subject, it just fascinates me,” she says. “Teenagers tend to fall off a lot and you know they get into things that obviously can hinder them for the rest of their lives … I want to help to nurture them back to where they need to be.”

Just like her mentors at Northwestern have nurtured her, Shameka hopes to pay it forward and help others rise above.

To check out Shameka’s profile and the profile of other students in the program, please visit the program’s website:


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