Valedictorian of Talladega High School’s Class of 2015, Destiny Lawler continues to make her mark on the world.
Lawler is the daughter of the Rev. Gerald Lawler and Nicola Lawler of Talladega. Although Destiny was born in Montgomery, her family came to Talladega, her father’s hometown, in 2008. She attended Zora Ellis Junior High School for seventh and eighth grades, then went on to THS, where she was crowned Miss Talladega High School and graduated. at the top of its class.
“She then went to Alabama State University,” her mother said, “back to her hometown of Montgomery and got her BS degree, magna cum laude, and now she’s at Howard University.” She is currently four years into her studies for a doctorate in pharmacology. She attends Howard on a full riding scholarship.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in forensic biology at Alabama State and spent her summers at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama Birmingham, Homeland Security Careers and a third at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Her interest in forensics stemmed from her grandfather, who owned a funeral home.
She was recently featured in Howard University’s graduate newsletter “The Sway.”
She told this publication, “I am currently doing breast cancer research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center with my mentor, Dr. Robert L. Copeland. I work specifically with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). I am also involved in joint research with my mentor’s collaborator at Georgetown University College of Medicine, where we are involved in looking at ‘new strategies for treating ethnically diverse triple negative breast cancer.’
This specific area of research first attracted her because “African American women have a higher mortality rate, about 42 percent, compared to European American women. I decided to pursue this specific area of breast cancer research because TNBC is predominantly seen in young African American women. It is also the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer.”
After completing her doctorate, she said, her goal will be to “pursue research involving potential targets for new drug treatment for common diseases and other comorbidities. I am excited to work on projects that research new drug development methods…”
That said, however, she added “I don’t define myself exclusively as a scientist … Outside of science, I’m a singer/artist. I just released my first single, which is available on all platforms (as “For Me “, by Des Nicola). My other interests and passions include giving back to my community (and) above all maintaining my relationship with Jesus Christ and ensuring that he is glorified represents who I am.”