Add St. Lucia News Online on Whatsapp +1758 712 6700; get major headlines and source us with news tips, photos, and videos

Trinidad physics student makes history at US university


 Share This On:

30-year-old Dr Kalisa Vil­lafana

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — A Trinidad & Tobago-born stu­dent has made his­to­ry at a uni­ver­si­ty in the US, be­com­ing the first woman of African her­itage to earn a PhD in physics at the school.

For her ac­com­plish­ment, 30-year-old Dr Kalisa Vil­lafana suc­cess­ful­ly de­fend­ed her the­sis and re­search in­to nu­clear physics at the Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty.

Vil­lafana lived in Ch­agua­nas dur­ing her ear­ly life, liv­ing in St Thomas Vil­lage and at­tend­ing the Ch­agua­nas Gov­ern­ment Pri­ma­ry School.

But it was while at­tend­ing Holy Faith Con­vent, Cou­va she dis­cov­ered her love for physics and math. And in Sixth Form, she got the op­por­tu­ni­ty to at­tend uni­ver­si­ty in the Unit­ed States.

Some 10 years lat­er, Vil­lafana has gone down in his­to­ry as the first black woman to grad­u­ate with a PhD from Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty.

She was al­so re­cent­ly fea­tured by the African Amer­i­can Women in Physics web­site. In ad­di­tion to these suc­cess­es, she is al­so one of the few black women in the Unit­ed States with the qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia dur­ing a Skype in­ter­view on Tues­day, Vil­lafana said: “There aren’t a lot of women physi­cists—there aren’t a lot of black physi­cists…In the US, there aren’t yet 100 African-Amer­i­can women with PhD’s in Physics and I be­lieve now I’m ei­ther num­ber 95 or 96.”

“We need that num­ber to rise. Physics is a pre­dom­i­nant­ly white, male field so the di­ver­si­ty is slow­ly but sure­ly com­ing in physics.”

She en­cour­ages all young girls who may look up to her and have their hearts set on a goal to “do your re­search and fig­ure out how you’re able to get your­self po­si­tioned in this field,” just as she did.

But de­spite spend­ing lengthy pe­ri­ods study­ing in the US she al­ways made time to vis­it her fam­i­ly in Trinidad.

“I def­i­nite­ly miss home all of the time. My fam­i­ly is all in Trinidad so I try to go as of­ten as I can…home is al­ways home.”

Vil­lafana would not be re­turn­ing to Trinidad & Tobago just yet as she will be mov­ing to Ari­zona to take up a po­si­tion at the In­tel Cor­po­ra­tion.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.