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Saint Lucia-Born Scientist Who Overcame Challenges Encourages Young People To Be Positive


Saint Lucia-born Shanan Emmanuel grew up in the Jacmel community amid several challenges but endured, eventually becoming a scientist working with a Massachusetts company.

As a result, she is encouraging young people to focus on positive goals.

Emmanuel, who left Saint Lucia when she was about seventeen, told reporters of the challenges she faced growing up in Jacmel.

“Growing up in Bois Den, Jacmel and being from a very small family our struggles ranged from somewhat financial to just the environment itself,” she recalled.

Emmanuel attended the SDA Primary School and the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School, and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

Emmanuel’s academic achievements include a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of the Virgin Islands and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Florida.

“Schooling was very important from the get-go to ensure that my life and my future were not plagued by what I saw around me and so for me essentially it was very important to stay in school, to be focussed,” she stated.

According to Emmanuel, she recognised that schooling was what would propel her career-wise.

“Currently I focus on gene therapeutics, that is essentially a way to treat uncurable diseases through gene therapy,” Emmanuel explained.

Shanan Emmanuel in white lab coat

Now back in Saint Lucia for a brief visit, she and her mother plan to give back through a back-to-school giveaway and scholarship programme.

“This was an idea we came up with in 2019, but unfortunately, because of COVID we were not able to visit but we had already purchased all the items – essentially back packs, school items like pens, pencils, sharpeners, everything. Essentially that will be given to students who are in need. So the hope is to launch that officially by next year during the summer at the Marigot Secondary School,” Emmanuel told reporters.

The thirty-year-old explained that the hope is to provide resources for youngsters in need.

And amid the gun violence surge plaguing Saint Lucia and has affected Jacmel, where she is from, Emmanuel appealed to young people in learning institutions not to give up.

“Hold on to your dreams. No matter how hard life may seem focus, keep focused. Make sure you surround yourself with positive people. I am from a Christian background and so I make sure that I pray. Make sure that you don’t put yourself in situations that might be damaging to your identity,” Emmanuel stated.

She declared that life is hard for everyone, but sometimes people need the drive and focus that will propel them.

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  1. Congratulations,proud of you as a St. Lucian and don’t give up on the community where you grew up.
    Pls encourage them.

  2. Proud of her and her achievements It’s a lesson that many in the underprivileged areas need to learn. Never give up or take your eyes off the prize. A current bad situation is only temporary…if you make it so.

  3. So basically, the girl was smart and her family supported her. This story is typical of many in St Lucia. The difference bewteen her and others is her wiseness. So some family member must have sent for her through St Croix, where many Lucians live. The girl upon reaching St croix realised that there are opportunities. So she take her smartness and do degree in Biology. Then she later applied to PhD in the states. Simple. Many st lucians will go to st croix, do nothing, or just work somewhere and thats it. She just used her little opportunity differently . and in her case it paid off. Many lucians have no brains. they either prefer their gang, illicit activity, make kids, take man and call it a day. it has little to do with opportunities for many. just choices as this lady demonstrates.

  4. Well done young lady! Very inspirational. Keep on praying… God is good!

    SLT, more stories like this needed.

  5. You go, girl! May your example stir other young Lucians to greater and greater achievements!

  6. I rather see stories like this than the backwards Thecla nonsense I saw some news station airing some time ago! More to be proud of!

  7. Love this story…congrats to the young lady. These are the stories that inspire and give hope….I wish her all the best in her career.

    @The Saint Lucia Times. How can I get in touch with this young lady? I would like to collaborate with her. Please reach out. Thanks.

  8. Congratulations! Ms Shanan Emmanuel. I have always loved science, and hoping to pursue it. You are an inspiration.

  9. God bless you in your career…when you remain focused on positive dreams, goals and aspirations you will succeed at whatever you put your mind too..keep on keeping on …stories like yours are truly inspirational. Peace and blessings


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