Scholar of the Week
Talayha Gilliam of
Petersburg High School
By Janeal Downs
After having dealt with eczema and other skin problems herself, find Talayha Gilliam’s personal experiences with dermatologists have encouraged her to pursue the same field. “I would like to educate people and myself on how to properly treat and care for our skin, recipe hair and nails,” Talayha stated in an essay. When she graduates from high school this summer, Talayha will also graduate with her associates of science degree from Richard Bland College as a Middle College student. In order to pursue her goals of becoming a dermatologist, her next step will be to get her Bachelor’s degree in biology. This fall she will start school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. After getting her bachelor’s, she plans to go to medical school and become a dermatologist.
As a Middle College student, she has already experienced what it is like to take college level courses. One thing she has learned is the importance of time management. “Time management is key because if you don’t manage your time it’s just not possible to go about your day and get things done,” Talayha said. “Determination with your time management skills and your academics is really important.” While she is still in high school, Talayha volunteers as a tutor. She mostly helps with math tutoring because she enjoys the subject so much. She called the experience as a tutor very rewarding. “My encouraging words along with my tutoring skills intrigued the student, which allowed him to overcome his belief that he was not good at math,” Talayha stated about one experience as a geometry tutor. In the past, she has also volunteered as a sports photographer, the Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins Run, Sports Backers marathons, the Colonial Heights Food Bank, and more. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, the Key Club, the Olive Branch Baptist Church Young Adult Choir and the church’s Library Ministry.
Currently number one in her class at Petersburg High School with a 4.45 GPA, Talayha believes that education is the key to success. When she was younger, she and her twin sister would always take their mother’s textbooks and act as if they were college students and professors. They may not have understood the pharmaceutical and organic chemistry textbooks, but this is a fun experience that encouraged her to want to further her education. One of her biggest inspirations is her mother whose hard work encourages her to do better every day. “My mother is a pharmacist but she’s also a dialysis patient and she works really hard every day,” Talayha said. “Being that she’s a pharmacist, I want to be in a good position like she is.”
Growing up in Petersburg has motivated her to establish goals. Her volunteer work allowed her to give back to the community that gave back to her. As her high school graduation rapidly approaches, Talayha wants the community to know that “anything is possible as long as you’re willing to work toward that goal no matter what, because everything is possible in the end.”