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News Interview

Biophysical chemist conducts her research with kids

About Professor Jenkins

In 1991, Dr. Jenkins received a B.S. degree in chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University. In 1997, she graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in chemistry, majoring in biophysical chemistry.  Dr.  7. She spent her twenties researching the oxidative degradation of sickle hemoglobin in patients with Sickle Cell Disease.  Dr. Jenkins has a reputable list of research publications in studies related to “trans-fat in fast food” and HIV/AIDS.  In 2008-2011, she served a Co-Pi and campus Director of a multi-million dollar NSF program at Purdue University Northwest.  As the campus director, Dr. Jenkins was responsible for recruiting and retaining minority students in the sciences.  She has dedicated over 20 years in higher education – six years at Columbia College of Chicago, twelve years at Georgia Gwinnett College, and six years at Purdue University Northwest, where she was a tenured faculty member.

In the 1990s, Dr. Jenkins, who is also a vocalist, appeared in Jet and Ebony Magazine and various televised programs.  She even made an impromptu appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where she performed for Simon Cowell.  In addition to releasing her first full Album in 2017, Dr. Jenkins is licensed by CMGWordwide as Maya Angelou’s co-author in a musical rendition of the poem, “And Still I Rise”  - sung and performed by Dr. Jenkins. The single is featured on Maya Angelou’s official website and has placed on the Gospel BDS charts. Dr. Jenkins’ unique talents have earned her acceptance into the Stellar Academy and the Gospel Music Association. Her album entitled “Whoa” was released in 2017, and her Maya Angelou collaboration was released in 2018.  She is one of the music industry's most “unique” talents. ” She began writing songs shortly after the death of her younger brother, Ebony in 1998 (age 25).   With humility, Dr. Jenkins is uniquely gifted and purposefully walking in God’s plan for her life.

Lastly, Dr. Jenkins is the CEO of IRISE Research and Discovery Science – an outreach STEM program for kids. Under this initiative, Dr. Jenkins sponsors chemistry boot camps for kids and publishes a line of “science based” storybooks called, “Zakiah and Professor Jenkins.”


Dr. Jenkins often states, “Biophysics is my training, but music is my calling.”

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