Surpassing Expectations

From Non-Traditional College Student to PhD

As a first-generation college student, Dr. Tashelle Wright initially felt like pursuing a PhD was beyond her reach. The support received at Salt Lake Community College surpassed her expectations and helped her realize her dream. "SLCC brought me together with mentors who helped me see what was possible," she says.

Several faculty members took an interest in Dr. Wright. She says their encouragement changed the trajectory of her career by helping her gain confidence to pursue research and engage with various projects centered on justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity.

"As a young single-parent and non-traditional student, SLCC was just the place for me," said Dr. Wright. "I am honored to have been selected for several scholarships during my time there and take advantage of the wonderful childcare services. I was also involved with many student-led clubs and organizations including MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) / STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering Programs), the Black Student Union and Society of Women Engineers. These opportunities enabled me to be a full-time student, work full time, be a parent and mentor other students."

Dr. Wright earned an associate's degree from SLCC in 2014 and transferred to Westminster College to pursue a bachelor's degree in public health. She went on to earn a master's degree and a PhD in public health from the University of California, Merced. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Today, Dr. Wright serves as director of the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah's School of Medicine.