STEM Scholarship Spotlight: Tatum La

Hometown: Sugar Land, TX

Major: Biology

University: StanfordUniversity

Since Tatum was young, she always gravitated towards STEM subjects in school because she has always thrived in those academic areas that are more analytical and logical in nature. She remembers how excited she would get when she participated in elementary school science fairs and she still gets that feeling today when she is involved with STEM! Last summer, she had the privilege of conducting research in a lab at Rice University. This opportunity of actively participating in graduate-level research and even designing experiments of her own has been one of her greatest academic achievements to date.

However, Tatum’s life journey has not been easy. When she was fourteen years old, she was diagnosed with scoliosis. She was about to enter high school and she felt insecure because of the brace she had to wear. After a few years of suffering alone with this secret, she finally swallowed her pride and fear, and slowly told each of her friends that she had scoliosis. Inspired by her experience as a scoliosis patient, she has made it her goal to become a physician one day! She told herself that she must persevere and work hard towards the advancement of women in STEM.

Soon after her announcement to her friends, Tatum pushed through her insecurities and fears and she created a website called Back to Blog where she shared her story, offer scoliosis advice, and informed others about the disease that she had been struggling with for years. The most rewarding thing about this journey was having girls from around the world reach out to her to tell her that she had inspired them to fight through and that has meant more to her than any award or accolade she has ever received.

Fun Fact: Tatum was a ballet dancer for 12 years and is a state-certified florist!

Tatum feels honored to be a part of the next generation of innovators! Knowing that she can make a difference with her future STEM degree motivates her to work hard every day. She believes that there are so many avenues that you can explore as a STEM student, and she cannot wait to see where her education and experiences will take her.

After graduating from Stanford University with a Biology degree, Tatum aspires to go to medical school so one day she can become a physician and help others overcome their health hardships as she has. In addition to healthcare, she is also fascinated by evolutionary biology. She also hopes to conduct research on vaccine development and microbial evolution in addition to practicing medicine.