Da’Kuawn Johnson, future M.D./Ph.D., combines commitments to research and peer mentorship

Da’Kuawn Johnson
B.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Cum Laude, Certificate: Honors College
Hometown: Baltimore City
Plans: M.D./Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore

Having the guidance from the Meyerhoff program has allowed me to come in with a dream and leave with it being reality.

UMBC’s supportive environment and game-changing guidance offered by peer and faculty mentors have inspired Da’Kuawn Johnson to focus on what he could give back as a mentor to others—in the classroom, in the lab, and in campus life. “UMBC embodies students giving back to their peers,” he says. “I spent my college career in a give and take relationship where older students provided guidance, and my classmates and I worked as a team to achieve success.”

Da’Kuawn Johnson in his role as tutor at the UMBC Learning Resources Center.

As a Meyerhoff, HHMI, MARC U*STAR, and Kevin Yang and Katelyn Niu Scholar, Johnson has taken advantage of research opportunities in Jeffrey Gardner’s bacterial physiology lab, earning an Undergraduate Research Award for his work and presenting at the Summer Undergraduate Research Fest. Meanwhile, he served as a Learning Resources Center tutor, undergraduate teaching assistant in biological sciences, and justice on the UMBC Student Hearing Board in the Office of Student Judicial Programs, which promotes “personal integrity, civility, self-responsibility, citizenship, and appreciation for diversity” at the university.

“I did all of these things because other students did them for me,” Johnson shares.

On top of his research and service, Johnson is a classical pianist. Next, he will pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.