ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – At 27 years old, Lindsay Davis just checked a big item off her bucket list. She’s getting her Doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington.

She is also making history. When Davis walks across the stage next Thursday, she will be the university’s first African-American student to earn a Ph.D in chemistry.

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“I’m extremely excited, I feel like my dreams just came true,” Davis said. “Often times we are overlooked for certain positions or in certain cases, but we are here to let the world know that we are capable and that we’re here to do our jobs as well.”

Her journey hasn’t been easy. She says the lack of representation of people of color in STEM fields has often negatively influenced her self-esteem.

“I suffered with the imposter syndrome for so long,” Davis said. “I believe that this experience will allow me to inspire so many people.”

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According to the U.S. Department of Education, African-American students are the least likely racial group to enter science and engineering fields. They are also more likely than their peers to encounter environmental barriers that reduce academic performance.

Davis’ advisor, Dr. Kayunta Johnson-Winters, is one of the few African-American professors at UTA and the only one in the college of science. She says she knows Davis’ accomplishment will give others the courage to do the same

“The goal is to reach back and grab somebody else and train them and bring them along,” Johnson-Winters said.

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Davis plans on being an assistant professor at Langston University in Oklahoma.

Kennedi Walker