Motivated by Mom - An Inspiration to Many

USF Health student says ‘Mom’ was moving force in his life.

Chante Fuller always keeps his mom close. Always handy, Chante’s cell phone proudly displays her photo.

Once a school drop out full of hate and resentment for life, Chante Fuller never envisioned his life leading to medical college. “It is a dream,” said Fuller.

Coming from the housing projects, he is pursuing a degree in pharmacology. Fuller’s future has never seemed brighter.

Born and raised in a less fortunate neighborhood of Naples, Fl., Fuller, 28, was always told that he would be nothing in life. By his own admission, living around uneducated, unambitious boys lead him to follow the wrong path and drop out of school. He believed that his future was destined to be just like that of his peers and neighbors.

However, from a young age, Fuller had been inspired by a fellow African American, Dr. Edward Germin Pharm.D., M.D., of Pedriactics, who had a degree in pharmacology. Fuller saw the benefits Germin had gained from his degree and seeing those made him aspire to better himself. Even though he experienced ups and downs in his life, the idea of pharmacy remained in the back of his mind. Subconsciously, Fuller didn’t want to become a victim of the streets.

Fuller believes if it weren’t for his mom and friends like Germin, he would not be here today. Fuller’s mom supports him financially, emotionally and is his biggest motivator. “Never give up, Chante,” Fuller recalls his mom telling him. His mother pushed him to go back for his associate’s degree and, once it was completed, he saw the importance of an education and was determined to continue to achieve his goals. Fuller’s mom was adamant that he get an education, “You can’t come back to live in my house without a degree! What you start you must finish, Chante,” Fuller recalls his mom telling him.

Longing to become a pharmacist Fuller enrolled at the University of South Florida in 2003, and has since graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science.

As a struggling college student, Fuller began teaching at the Golden Gate Middle School back home in Naples, Fl., for extra cash. During semester breaks from USF, he worked there as a substitute teacher. Teaching, in and of itself, was fulfilling but also gave more to Fuller than he expected – a major motivator. Not only did it give him an opportunity to give back to his community but it also made Fuller realize the positive influence he had on the children he taught. “I saw the effect that I can have on young black kids at home,” said Fuller, “It is rare to see young black males as teachers and becoming educated.” Another important influence in his life is his mentor, Clay Terrell, who is the dean of Golden Gate Middle School. Fuller recalls “Dean Terrell” telling him of the positive effect that he can have on children at the school and in his neighborhood. Fuller was a substitute teacher at the school for three years. However, in 2006, his last year teaching, he became a certified teacher at Golden Gate Middle. The children loved him so much that he was also one of the most highly requested substitute teachers and even received a substitute teacher award.

For now though, Fuller has left teaching to fully commit himself to completing yet another degree. He was recently admitted to the College of Medicine to pursue a Masters Degree in Medical Science Pharmacology and he doesn’t want to stop there. Fuller plans to continue his education and obtain a doctorate in pharmacology.

Even though he has made a major change in his life and has so much ahead of him, Fuller remains humble. “I can’t look down at people because they don’t have a degree like me, I know how they feel. I’ve been there before,” said Fuller.

Even Fuller’s professors have been impressed with how motivated he is. “He is the most motivated student I have encountered in the past few years,” said Kay Perrin, Director of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor at USF’s College of Public Health, “He doesn’t ask for anything but advice on how to proceed to the next step in his career.”

Fuller expresses his utmost gratitude to his mom. He even gave his mom his diploma because if it weren’t for her, he says, he wouldn’t be where he is today. “I gave her my bachelor degree diploma and when I get my master’s I will give her that, too.” Fuller said.

As for now, Fuller’s future goals include getting a doctorate in pharmacology, being financially independent, giving back and caring for his mother and eventually teaching children again. “I just thank God that I am here and take advantage of the situation. I just have to keep going on,” said Fuller.

Story by Monique Salazar
Photography by John Loffredo, USF Health Media Center
This profile is part of an ongoing series showcasing the people of USF Health.