On the Job: Lamira Ray


Lamira Ray has had a clear plan for her future since she was in 9th grade at Flint Southwestern Academy.

“I learned about Smart Goals in TeenQuest and my senior management class in school,” says Ray. “My class focused on life goals, but TeenQuest focused on career goals. That has helped me think clearly about moving forward.”

And she did.

After graduation, Ray attended the University of Michigan where she obtained a degree in biopsychology, cognition, & neuroscience. After college, she worked in clinical research before being accepted into a master’s program for public health at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This all led her to her current position as a research program coordinator at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. But she still has more plans.

“I plan on going to medical school within the next few years,” says Ray. “Ultimately, I want to work with marginalized communities with a lack of quality healthcare and addressing  health disparities.”

Below, learn more about Ray’s current career and how TeenQuest her helped on her journey.

What are you looking forward to in your current position?

With this job, I will help patients get connected to clinical trials – primarily children with chronic bleeding disorders. I like being able to talk with patients, answer their questions and give them assurance. I want to make sure that patients are comfortable with the decision they are making.

What has been one of your proudest moments since graduating from TeenQuest?

In graduate school, I worked under Dr. LaVeist assisting him with an upcoming book and documentary about African American health disparities. It’s all about taking research that professionals know and bringing that to the public so that they can make more informed decisions about their health.

Do you have a moment that has stayed with you from TeenQuest?

There was an activity where there were nine dots on a piece of paper and we had to connect the dots without lifting our pencils. Most of us in the room struggled, but one student figured it out. The line had to go outside of the box – we had to think outside of the box to solve the problem. Having someone else figure it out when I couldn’t gave me a new perspective.

What advice would you offer to current TeenQuest students?

Do your research on the company you’re interviewing with, ask questions and see how you fit in. Bring a cheat sheet that you can reference that lists your strengths, special stories and answers to different questions.

What’s been your experience moving to different cities for school and work?

I love Flint. I wasn’t eager to leave. But moving offered me opportunities, such as being paired with mentors at the University of Michigan Hospital. The experience of being exposed to different cultures and people around the world has been eye-opening. I enjoy learning about different people and cultures, but Flint is still home.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.