By Andre LaFontant
Dr. Sharon Walker, Director of Translate Bio’s Legal Group, can’t remember a time in her life without a deep-rooted passion for science. She is no stranger to the hard work and discipline necessary to make her dreams reality: taking it upon herself as a tenth grader to work weekends and any possible school breaks to help pay for her private school education in Boston.
Like anyone who experiences notable success, she embraces every aspect of the growth. Being uncomfortable is a major part of that process, and it’s something that Dr. Walker hopes will not deter other high achieving Black women from finding their niche in the fields of chemistry or law. “I love talking to young people interested in patent law or the sciences,” she explains. “Every day and every way. That’s my mantra associated with helping the next generation to aspire towards leadership roles in these fields. I did not have any women of color helping me in my scientific career journey, and that’s what fuels me to be that for someone else.”
As hard as it was at times, with as many naysayers as Dr. Walker had, she is thankful to the many people that supported her dream. A testament to her endearing nature, she still remains in contact with many of her mentors. While that support embraced her dreams, there is still the conversation to be had with those that don’t understand the value in diversity. “Sometimes I think I make people uncomfortable. But I think people should embrace that feeling. The inequities in this world are real. In order to make significant changes to that reality, people have to make deliberate steps forward. They have to reassess if they are making a positive impact or a negative one.” Without a doubt, Dr. Walker’s spirit doesn’t allow for the distraction of prejudice. Her vision is clear and she wants to take as many people with her as she can.