Tallahassee native Tamia Potter makes history as first black neurosurgery resident at Vanderbilt University

Tallahassee native a Wakulla High School, FAMU alum
Posted at 1:46 PM, Jun 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-06 10:46:31-04

(WTXL) — “I’m very excited and nervous because being called Dr. Potter is going to freak me out, I’m going to be like who are you talking to are you talking to me,” said Tamia Potter.

“Everyone around me is like do you know what you’ve done and I’m like I don’t know I don’t know,” Potter said.

After nearly 150 years, on March 17, 2023, Tamia shattered the glass ceiling at Vanderbilt University; making her the first Black female resident to the neurosurgery department.

“When we opened the letter, it was a sense of relief because it’s like I did it. I’m done. I finally made it!” said Potter.

According to a 2019 report by National Institutes of Health, there are currently 33 Black female neurosurgeons in the United States. After completion, she will be No. 34.

Holding the weight of being a trailblazer isn’t new to Potter — in addition to being the first Black student body vice president of Wakulla High School, she was also the first Black Miss Wakulla County.

Several titles her parents Monique and Tim Potter are proud of.

But the road to success wasn’t easy. It was full of trials and tribulations.

Potter, a Florida A&M University alum, remembered when the polar vortex hit, and I was cold my credit card was max out and had to go to food banks for food,” Potter said.

But her don’t quit mentality along with mentors and family support provided her with the strength to succeed despite her circumstances.

“If I had to go back through every single time through all the tears all the struggle and prayers, I know what I’m doing is going to help someone far more than any struggle I went through,” Potter said.