Courtesy of Xavier University of Louisiana
As Xavier University of Louisiana approaches its historic centennial, the university continues to uphold its reputation for sending more African American students to medical school than any other institution in the nation. Created exclusively for Xavierites, the J.W. Carmichael Jr. Pre-Medical Scholarship was established to increase the number of Black medical doctors, pushing Xavier’s vision of a more equitable society forward. The scholarship is named after Xavier’s prolific former pre-medical program director, Dr. J.W. Carmichael, who spearheaded initiatives supporting education and increasing diversity and representation in academic fields. Aryan Gleason, Xavierite junior and biology pre-med major, was excited to be one of this year’s recipients as the scholarship supports her academic education and continues J.W. Carmichael’s legacy.
Gleason naturally gravitated to healthcare at an early age. Xavier became the clear pathway for her academic career, and she felt it was where God wanted her to be. Throughout her college experience, she’s confident she made the right decision to choose Xavier.
“Outside of the traditional rigor, my Xavier experience has been genuinely phenomenal. I’ve met so many great people, especially administrators, who feel almost like family. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve had so many amazing opportunities here,” she shared.
Gleason serves as the executive board treasurer and chief financial officer of Xavier’s Student Government Association (SGA)and as a project coordinator in Mobilization at Xavier 2.0 (MAX). She also recently completed an undergraduate research internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Neonatology. Her Vanderbilt research supported her Xavier education by exposing her to advanced scientific fields and allowing her to strengthen critical thinking skills applicable in and out of the classroom.
She discovered the J.W. Carmichael scholarship by researching Xavier’s website. The two-year scholarship is paid over the junior and senior years of successful scholarship awardees and is funded by the Na Pua Foundation and Procter & Gamble’s Tampax “Flow it Forward” Scholarship Program. Flow it Forward was created to support the next generation of Black female doctors and health professionals, with a mission to end health misinformation and ensure equal representation and accessible medical resources.
Gleason was proud to be selected for the scholarship as it supports her academic studies and gave her self-assurance that she was on the right path.
“Being selected made me feel special, and it was encouragement for me to keep going. It inspired me to continue believing in myself,” she said.
After graduating in May 2025, Gleason plans to attend medical school to become an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN). Her interest in becoming an OB-GYN was sparked by her passion for women’s health and reproductive justice. Gleason’s long-term goal is to own a medical practice in the community catering to and supporting Black women. She plans to be on the frontlines advocating for reproductive health and empowering Black women to be confident in their health autonomy by delivering collaborative, educational efforts and care.
Gleason’s drive, passion and dedication exemplify Xavier’s mission of preparing students to assume roles of leadership and service in society.