Kayla C. Jenkins

Rising Junior


Minor in Sustainability

Johnson C. Smith University

Charlotte, N.C.

email: kcjenkins.2019@mymail.jcsu.edu

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Kayla Jenkins is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia. She is a Biology major with interests in diabetes research and diabetes prevention, potentially leaning towards a medical degree or a Ph.D. in endocrinology. Here at JCSU, her intent is to expand her knowledge in the natural sciences and also diversify engagement in other STEM subjects, including chemistry and sustainability.


Kayla is JCSU’s first declared Sustainability minor and she has already exemplified student leadership in SUS 230 Principles of Sustainability while interacting with an interdisciplinary group of students. Sustainability plays a significant role in her studies, given the crucial impact our ecological environment has on human health. Kayla recognizes that being educated on broad topics of sustainability is necessary for learning not only how our bodies are affected by the condition of our immediate environment, but how we can best sustain our food, energy and water. Kayla believes that "in some ways many people are not aware of just how much sustainability affects our water, food, housing and air quality. My hope is to develop a deeper understanding on how social issues and environmentalism connect and encourage other minorities to engage in sustainability".   

Kayla was a participant in Dr. Mark Dugo's 2020 virtual summer program, “Sustainability within the Ecosystem Services Framework and an Introduction to Citizen Science Engagement". She is continuing with year-round research funded by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with Dr. Dugo. Kayla is working on several projects, including assisting Dr. Dugo with developing an urban water quality monitoring study design for select watersheds in the Charlotte area that will be implemented during his 2021 summer program that will be held at JCSU this coming July. Kayla is also working on a research proposal aimed at exploring xenobiotic stressors that may have negative metabolic impacts on humans. 

CRES is honored to have Kayla participate as a student researcher. We look forward to the knowledge and experience she will bring back to JCSU in the fall of 2021 when she returns from her 10-week long Summer Diabetes Research Internship for the summer of 2021 at the University of Virginia. Congratulations, Kayla, for your acceptance into their summer program!