College Basketball Star Becomes First Black Woman to Earn Doctorate In Biochemistry at Florida International University


Chantrall Frazier made her way through college as a star player on the women’s basketball team. But she’s leaving the school having made history in another area.

As part of Florida International University’s 2022 graduating class, Frazier became the first Black woman at the university to earn her Ph.D. in biochemistry. Frazier brought her passion for biochemistry to the school after obtaining her bachelor’s degree at the HBCU–Savannah State University.

Through her groundbreaking research, Frazier received departmental funding and funding from the Dubai Police. The Florida Education McKnight Fellow and Florida AGEP Pathways Alliance (FL-AGEP) scholar’s work helped to pave a lane for collaborations with the FIU research community. She also created optimized protocols for examining human odor profiles to understand the odors that attract mosquitos.

Frazier’s mentor encouraged her to take up space as a woman of color in the field and now she aims to inspire others to do the same.

“Who can look out better for us than ourselves?” Frazier asked Atlanta Black Star.

“It prepared me to not falter. It prepared me when things got difficult not to quit.”

The Tampa native’s past volunteer work includes the FIU Student Access and Success Center (SASC), the City of Miami Gardens, and mentoring students on the secondary and tertiary levels to conduct research at FIU.

Education is something her family takes pride in. While earning her doctorate, three of Frazier’s sisters graduated high school, two of her siblings already graduated college, and one is on her way to the HBCU, Edward Waters University. Elsewhere, four of Frazier’s relatives have doctorate degrees.

Now with her Ph.D., Frazier will join the faculty at Framingham State University in Massachusetts as a postdoctoral teaching fellow in Chemistry. She hopes to encourage more women of color to pursue careers within STEM fields.

“It’s just being an example for them showing them that the ceiling is open because I feel like I’ve broken a lot of glass ceilings with what I’ve done,” Frazier said.

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