Tyra S.


In thinking about the question “How will my degree help improve the State of Michigan, I’m reminded of the famous quote by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” This quote is one of many inspirational and motivational quotation of Dr. King’s legacy. These words have sentimental value to me as I journey to another stage of my life.

Living twenty minutes from Downtown Detroit has its perks. I’m never too far away from a concert at the Joe Louis arena, or the Detroit River Walk during River Days or even the delicious and cultural filled festivals that occurs each year downtown. Being so close to the heart of Detroit is rewarding and adventurous. However, being either in downtown or midtown Detroit, you see an unbearable amount of homeless individuals walking around helplessly with nowhere to go. Shelters, especially during winter months, fill up very quickly and the duration of one’s stay has strict guidelines. Many victims of poverty are left with other alternative for housing or other solutions to maintain a positive lifestyle.

In four years, I perceive myself obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry/ Pre-Med from Xavier University of Louisiana. I have great aspirations to become the founder of the Paul E. Smith Foundation or Shelter. This non- profitable foundation and shelter will be named in honor of my late father Paul E. Smith. The foundation will be located in Detroit.

The Paul E. Smith shelter will serve as more than a temporary shelter for the homeless. It will be opened to individuals sixteen to forty years of age. This age group is targeted because they will be able to acquire life skills as well as employability skills while staying at the shelter. Providing job training courses will allow individuals to gain work experience and find full-time employment which not only help them to better their lives, but it will help decrease the unemployment rate in Michigan. In addition to building a facility to help the homeless, a public clinic will be available to underprivileged residents of all ages. The neighborhood clinic will be beneficial in educating teen and preteens on health education. 

My chemistry degree allows me to study public health and safety and communicable diseases. I can use this knowledge to educate those in the shelter as well as ask my future counter parts to volunteer their time to the health clinic. Having a free health clinic will help decrease the amount of money the government will have to fund to hospitals in order to treat patients without healthcare coverage. 

I am ambitious in trying to decrease the rate of Detroit residents who lives in poverty and are homeless. Ultimately, my goal is to provide the homeless with essential skills to become autonomy citizens in the workforce.

Accomplishing this goal would mean that I would have accomplished one of Dr. King’s affirmation, “What are you doing for others?”