‘Durham Tech has prepared me'

Sharia Warren, who has worked at Duke Health for 12 years and is currently a clinical specialist senior there, will finish Durham Tech in May with an applied science degree in clinical research, thanks in part to the encouragement her two daughters have provided.  

“They are my cheerleaders,” the single mother says of her 17- and 10-year-old girls. “When school gets too tough and thoughts of giving up creep into my mind, my oldest will remind me of how far I’ve come.”

Warren came to Durham Tech in 2021 and met Dr. Sharlene Traynor, director of the College’s Clinical Trials Research Associate Program. Clinical research is a competitive field, but Warren believes the experience she has gained at Durham Tech gives her an edge.

“Durham Tech has prepared me. I spend hours studying and working. My daughters keep me going,” Warren said. “My oldest gets up in the middle of the night and sees me studying and makes me hot tea. My youngest understands and she knows how hard I work. My daughters are my world, and they raise me up.”

Warren said she doubted herself in the clinical research world, but coming to Durham Tech and having Traynor as her mentor has brought self-awareness and confidence.  

“I thought I knew what I needed, but God led me. Without him putting people like Dr. Traynor in my life some of these things wouldn’t be possible. I like the quote, ‘Sometimes God takes you on a journey you didn’t know you needed, to bring you everything you ever wanted. Trust the plan,’” Warren said. “I got wisdom and grew my family at Durham Tech. ... I haven’t attended one class that I didn’t walk out with something I could use in the real world.”  

Warren’s journey would not be what it is without Traynor.  

“I’m in awe of her,” Warren said as she began to tear up. “Ever know someone who sees the best in you even when you don’t, and they are able to pull this out of you? That’s Dr. Traynor for me.”

Traynor’s transparency, kindness and toughness have prepared Warren for what she wants next in her career at Duke.

“I am excited to graduate and be a strong contender for a higher up position,” she said. “I want to keep growing and I want my daughters to see it can be done.”

Warren’s experience at Durham Tech has inspired her to help others who follow in her footsteps.

“I’ve had good teachers at Durham Tech, plain and simple,” Warren said. “Because of them I plan to give back to Durham Tech. Maybe I’ll be a mentor in the Clinical Research program as someone who’s been through the program. Plus, I’d get to work with Dr. Traynor.”

Warren will begin attending N.C. Central University in August, where she will get her bachelor’s of science degree in clinical research.