|Born||August 28, 1984|
|Died||June 7, 2020 (aged 35)|
|Occupation||lab technician, lecturer|
|Known for||her efforts to overcome a learning disability have been described as inspirational|
Lynika Strozier was an American scientist whose efforts to overcome a learning disability was described as inspirational. She succumbed to the Covid 19 virus in June 2020 at just 35 years of age.
1 Early life
2 Academic career
Strozier was born in Alabama, but moved to Chicago, with her mother, when she was a toddler.
Strozier's mother was a drug addict, who wasn't able to care for her properly, and her grandmother raised her from age 6. She was diagnosed with learning disabilities at age 8, that profoundly affected both reading and math. According to The Chicago Tribune “when she read aloud, it was in such a halting manner that it sometimes sounded like she was gasping for breath.”
Her grandmother recounts being advised that Lynika's disability was so profound she should take steps to have her placed on social assistance for the rest of her life - advice she rejected, having confidence that Lynika could overcome her difficulties, with sufficient effort.
Strozier finished high school, and went to study at the University of Northern Iowa on a scholarship. But she did poorly, and returned to Chicago. She then enrolled at Turner College, where a mentor, Yvonne Harris, encouraged her to consider Science, in spite of her disabilities. Her teachers describe her overcoming her disabilities through a combination of hard work, and creative alternatives. For instance, she did all her calculations, longhand, on paper, rather than use a calculator, because it helped her continue to visualize the meaning of the numbers. One of her mentors described talking with her about how she was a visual thinker, and so she encouraged her to first draw pictures and diagrams of the information she wanted to present, and then use those drawings as an outline for her written presentations.
When she started to work at Chicago's Field Museum, as a student intern, she found she had a gift for lab work. One of her superiors described her as having "golden hands", being able to coax DNA from particularly small and difficult biological samples. She earned an associate degree from Turner, and, while working at the Field Museum, finished a Bachelor of Science at Dominican University, and went on to earn Master's Degrees at Loyola University Chicago and University of Illinois, Chicago.
She spent most of her scientific career at the Field Museum. In addition to her work at the Field Museum she was one of two scientists at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's science lab. In 2018 she finished two Master's degrees, and in 2019 she started working as an adjunct professor at Malcolm X College - which colleagues describe as her dream job.
Supporters raised funds through a gofundme initiative, to start a scholarship in her name for young African-American women entering the sciences.
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