Vincentian Dr. Loni Philip-Tabb: ‘West Indian culture shaped my character’

UntitledNelson A. King (The Vincentian) writes about Dr. Loni Philip-Tabb, daughter of a Vincentian mother and a Grenadian father, who recently delivered the keynote address at the 36th Independence Anniversary gala banquet of the Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVGOP). The Harvard-educated Vincentian professor in the United States pointed to “the West Indian culture of hard work, strong morals and penchant for giving back to the community in helping to shape her character.”

In delivering the keynote address Saturday night, at the 36th Independence Anniversary gala banquet of the Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVGOP), Dr. Loni Philip- Tabb, the daughter of a Vincentian mother and a Grenadian father, said her Caribbean experiences and memories significantly shaped “who I am today.”

“I try to instill these things in my own children and even share with my husband all the fond memories of growing up in a Vincy and Grenadian home,” said Philip-Tabb at the ceremony held at the Vincentian-owned Calabash Banquet and Catering House on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia.

Philip-Tabb’s mother, Patsy Philip, who introduced her daughter by reading from Philip Tabb’s biography, hails from Park Hill in North Central Windward. Philip-Tabb, who obtained her PhD degree in Biostatistics in 2009 from the Ivy League Harvard University in Massachusetts – considered among the top universities in the world – said her path to her “scientific experience” actually began in business school at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she’s currently a tenured-track Assistant Professor of Biostatistics.

She said she had begun studies in business administration, concentrating in accounting and finance, but switched to mathematics at the urging of her trainer. “It was at that moment I began to do some self-evaluation to see if what others actually saw in me is what I see in myself,” said Dr. Philip-Tabb, who spoke on the topic, “Change for the Challenge.” “It’s not enough for others to point out your strengths and weaknesses, but also for one to acknowledge those distinct characteristics in yourself,” she added. “No one can tell you what’s best for you as an adult – although some people try; you may decide that for yourself.”

After completing a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics at Drexel University in 2005, with a full scholarship, Philip-Tabb said, two years later, she graduated with another Master’s – Master of Science in Biostatistics – at Harvard, with also a full scholarship. She said her dissertation work focused on building multilevel statistical models applied to both environmental and health disparities settings. In particular, she examined the effect of neighborhood poverty on mortality rates in the city of Boston. Philip-Tabb said this work allowed her to “not only measure the health and social disparities present in this city but to also map these disparities at a neighborhood level.”

[. . .] Immediately after obtaining her Ph. D, Philip-Tabb said she was offered a professorship in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University.

She said her experience at Harvard taught her a number of things. “I had to realize that every chapter in one’s life is not going to be fun, easy breezy, and comes free of charge,” she said. “My work ethic had to change. What was good before, needed to be great. What I did in the past helped me get to that point to enter the doctoral program. “But what I need to do to get beyond that point to obtain my PhD in Biostatistics required even more dedication, even more due diligence, and even more passion,” she added. “Stay true to your faith, morals and beliefs,” Philip- Tabb continued. “Never allow anyone or anything to alter these things, and use your faith, morals and beliefs to help you in difficult challenging times.” [. . .]

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

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