Emerald Bowman, who joined the HMS Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership in May of 2021 as director of community engagement and education, designs and implements outreach and community engagement efforts within Boston and Cambridge. The goal of her work is to help increase science literacy and interest in science careers among Boston middle and high school students, particularly individuals from groups underrepresented in medicine.
Harvard Medicine News talked with Bowman about her background, her interests, and her plans for her new role at HMS.
Harvard Medicine News: What brought you to HMS?
Bowman: I completed a program in nonprofit management at the Harvard Extension School in May 2020 and thought this position would be a great opportunity to be part of an office that works with the academic progression of school-aged children.
HM News: What excites you most about this position?
Bowman: I’m most excited to work with school-aged children and expose them to various opportunities. I hope to accomplish more community partnerships, outreach, and engagement efforts to promote inclusivity. Last summer, I was able to lead Project Success for the first time. This program invites Boston and Cambridge underrepresented and / or disadvantaged high school students to participate in paid, mentored summer research internships at HMS and its affiliated institutions. The program consists of seminars and workshops led by faculty and administrators, site visits, and career counseling. I met amazing students who have kept in touch with me after the program ended, updating me on their academics and their new collegiate ventures.
HM News: What did you do before you started working at HMS?
Bowman: I’ve done a lot! I was with the City of Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department for nine years, doing grants, marketing, sponsorships, K-12 programming, and special events for 17 recreation centers, 92 parks, 12 pools, two golf courses, a historic site , seniors and Special Olympics Forsyth County. I also did a lot of outreach and partnerships with local colleges, Winston-Salem / Forsyth County School System, and National Basketball Association and National Football League foundations. In my previous role, I taught as an adjunct instructor at Winston-Salem State University, an HBCU, and was on the board of the nonprofit Parenting PATH. I’ve also been part of NASCAR’s Diversity Internship Program and interned with the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, now known as the Hornets.
HM News: What’s the most interesting or unusual job you’ve had?
Bowman: Working as a bank teller straight out of undergrad. I graduated from Virginia State University, an HBCU, during a time of uncertainty: 2009. I could not find a job, and a lot of my friends who walked across the stage with me at graduation were in the same boat. I was able to take a job as a bank teller. I met a lot of interesting people and really enjoyed talking with the seniors who came into the branch. They shared the best stories!
HM News: What do you enjoy doing in your down time?
Bowman: Spending time with my family. My mother and daughter are so close. Hanging out with those two is hilarious! I also have a dog, Handsome Daquan Bark-Bowman VIII. He’s a Morkie who enjoys listening to Destiny’s Child and Kirk Franklin. He loves gas station chicken wings, Cool Ranch Doritos, and wearing T-shirts.
HM News: Do you have any talents that most people do not know about?
Bowman: I used to dance for a performing arts school in North Carolina. I was featured as a highlighted dancer for the National Black Theater Festival. My stage name back in the day was L’il Bit. My former teachers and people in the community still call me that.
HM News: What’s your favorite meal to prepare at home?
Bowman: I may be from the South, but I do not cook. I do make a mean lunch meat sandwich, and my milk to cereal ratio is impeccable! I’d share the info, but it’s a Southern secret.