In the last of our Emerging Researchers Series, I speak with Shandra Trantham, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida. Shandra was destined for a life in science. As a young child, science and math were her favorite subjects. She and I share the childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. I never followed my dream, but Shandra didn’t even have the choice.
When she was 9 years old, she began to lose her balance and things got progressively worse. When she was 12, she was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia. Our regular listeners may be familiar with Friedreich’s Ataxia because we have talked to other’s about the rare disorder (Kyle Bryant in episode 2 way back in 2019, and Layne Rodden in episode 013). For Shandra, her diagnosis gave her a focus on science, a reason to study, and a purpose.